Healthcare Law & Policy Archive

HHS to Cut Premiums for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will cut premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions by about 20% in those states in which it operates its Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.  In addition, HHS will ask those states that operate the program on their own to cut coverage rates as well.

Partial I-9/I-10 Code Freeze Finalized and Ready to Begin in 2012

The ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee intends to implement a partial freeze of ICD 9-CM and ICD 10-CM codes prior to the implementation of the ICD-10 on October 1, 2013. This was announced at a National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) meeting, which took place in Baltimore, MD from September 14-16, 2010.  The

AMA Calls on the Debt Commission to Repeal the SGR Formula

The country’s largest medical society, the American Medical Association (AMA), has urged the bipartisan Debt Commission created by President Obama to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. AMA expressed its demands to members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. It requested that a proposal be sent to Congress to permanent repeal

Medicare Part D Beneficiaries to Get 50% Discount on Drugs in 2011

Vice President Biden, along with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 that a 50% discount will be given to Medicare Part D beneficiaries on covered brand-name prescription drugs starting in 2011. Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, and VP

CMS Determined To Simplify Collections Of “Meaningful Use” Incentives For Providers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the expansion of its Medicare Provider Enrollment system.  The expansion will make it easier for physicians and medical practices to register for Medicare and take advantage of the “meaningful use” incentives offered under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act).

Meaningful Use Incentive Payments Due To Begin In May 2011

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin issuing the first of the “meaningful use” incentive payments available under the HITECH Act in May 2011, according to a senior CMS official. Karen Trudel, Deputy Director for CMS’ Office of E-Health Standards & Services, told Healthcare IT News that registration will open in January 2011. 

Medicare Part D ‘Donut Hole’ To Be Closed By 2020

Under the current Medicare regime, seniors enrolled in the Medicare Part D drug plan for 2010 are not only required to pay a $310 deductible, they must also pay 25% of their drug costs until the total reaches $2,830 for the year.  After that, Medicare recipients are liable for drug costs until their yearly out-of-pocket

DEA Establishes Final Rule on E-Prescribing of Controlled Drugs

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced its interim final rule for electronic prescribing of controlled substances. The rule became effective on June 1, 2010, and it may be amended in the future depending on public comment. Pharmacy organizations have been working with the DEA for more than a decade to draft rules for electronic

Physicians May Legally Waive Coinsurance Relative To 2.2% Medicare Pay Increase

The recently enacted law that temporarily replaces a 21.3% cut in Medicare reimbursement rates with a 2.2% increase also retroactively increases what patients owe in coinsurance.  However, according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG), physicians can legally waive the additional amount owed under the increased rate.  The 2.2% raise came into effect on June

President Signs Bill Delaying 21% Medicare Physician Pay Cuts through November 30th

On June 25, 2010, President Obama approved a bill that temporarily repeals the 21.3% Medicare pay cuts for doctors and replaces it with a 2.2% increase through the end of November.  The measure is retroactive to June 1st, the date the 21.3% cuts took effect. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS),