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From Inside Health Insurance Exchanges - In a bit of good news for health plans and brokers, CMS on May 5 said that HealthCare.gov’s Direct Enrollment (DE) function will be made available outside of the official open-enrollment period, HEX has learned. The technology — which connects systems used by brokers and carriers directly to HealthCare.gov to enable subsidy calculations and enrollment — previously wasn’t available for special enrollment periods (SEPs). In a conference call, CMS said it was targeting July 10 as a start date, pending testing. Read more

From Health Plan Week - While most health insurers have made little effort to embrace the mobile application market, a few such as UnitedHealth Group and Independence Blue Cross are actively researching ways to solve the problem of being the “last to know” in the real-time information game of mobile technology. Read more

From Inside Health Insurance Exchanges - In April, Los Angeles-based L.A. Care Health Plan said it had contracted with PayNearMe to give its insurance exchange enrollees the option of paying premiums with cash (HEX E-Alert, 4/22/15). A few months earlier, Humana Inc. unveiled a similar arrangement through its partnership with CVS Health’s retail division and InComm, an electronic payment network. Read more

From Medicare Advantage News - Now that almost all of the CMS-backed initiatives for Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles are up and running, it has become clear that reaching many of the ambitious goals in these programs will be nearly impossible over the short term. There have been and will continue to be improvements in integrated care for duals as a result of the demo, plan executives tell MAN, but such aspects as cost savings, good outcomes… Read more

From Drug Benefit News - Nearly a year after the last of the valid patents on Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) expired, the FDA on April 16 cleared Sandoz Inc. and Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to market Glatopa, the first substitutable generic version of the daily injectable therapy. While entry of the generic has the potential to significantly lower costs in the multiple sclerosis category, there are several uncertainties that may… Read more

From Report on Patient Privacy - Another industry survey on the state of health care’s ability to protect its data has reached an overall conclusion that is similar to the other surveys that have been released over the last several months — health care IT is behind other industries, and “the results clearly point to systemic failures...when it comes to protecting sensitive data.” The new survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Vormetric, which describes… Read more

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