Biden unveils COVID-19 advisory board, says ‘bold action’ needed to fight virus

Written by Ken Downey Jr. for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced a 13-member COVID-19 advisory board and a seven-point plan to fight the virus. “There is a need for bold action to fight this pandemic,” Biden said during a Monday press conference. “We are still facing a very dark winter.” There have been more than 10.3 million reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 240,000 deaths, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. Texas has reported 1 million cases alone. READ MORE

5 issues hospitals want Biden to tackle in his first 100 days

  Written by Samantha Liss and Rebecca Pifer for Former Vice President Joe Biden is beginning his transition to power as the novel coronavirus is breaking somber records in the U.S. — and hospitals in some areas find themselves stretched to the brink once again. Bolstering the federal response to the pandemic is the sector’s No.1 ask for the incoming president. On the current trajectory, Biden is poised to assume office when the deadly pandemic may reach unprecedented heights in terms of the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.   Many hospitals and health systems across the country are warning that the virus threatens to overwhelm their clinicians and resources, spurring a call to action as administrators and officials all …

Regardless of the presidential election outcome, here are 5 health IT issues to watch

Published by: Heather Landi with Regardless of who wins the presidential election, healthcare IT leaders are setting their sights on key issues they want the federal government to take action on in the next four years. The first priority: shoring up the nation’s public health data infrastructure, a crucial step to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, according to health IT groups. “The pandemic has shown that gaps persist in the data that public health authorities receive, such as missing demographic or contact information that can aid in contact tracing efforts or identify hot spots. The government can take steps in January—and even before—to shore up those gaps and prepare the nation’s data infrastructure for an eventual vaccine,” said Ben …

GOP coronavirus bill blocked as deal remains elusive

Published on: and Written by: JORDAIN CARNEY Senate Democrats blocked a scaled-down, GOP-only $500 billion coronavirus bill Wednesday, as talks continue on a bipartisan deal between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the White House. Senators voted 51-44 to end debate on the Republican proposal, falling short of the 60 needed to overcome the procedural hurdle. The GOP bill was widely expected to fall short—and is less than a third of the latest offer made by the White House. But Senate Republican leadership was eager to force Democrats to go on the record on coronavirus relief as the number of cases per day is on the rise and the November election is less than two weeks away. READ MORE

What Happens if SCOTUS Overturns ACA, Besides Coverage Loss?

Published by Kelsey Waddill for October 14, 2020 – With the Supreme Court preparing to make its final ruling on the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality on November 10, researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute have published a list of potential impacts of an Affordable Care Act overturn, going beyond the initial coverage losses. “If the ACA is overturned, the consequences will be devastating for millions of Americans,” the brief began. “Some of the most popular ACA provisions, including protections for people with preexisting conditions and the extension of dependent coverage to young adults up to age 26, would be eliminated.” The first implication that may come to mind would be the impacts on health insurance status and the uninsured …

NEW! NAHU Agency Membership

NAHU’s Agency Membership—an easy and effective way for your agency to manage individual NAHU memberships and maximize the benefits for your agency through one centralized point. NAHU’s Agency Membership is available to agencies who enroll 75% of eligible agency members (EAM)—defined as producers who are licensed to sell employee benefits, individual health insurance, Medicare or other health related products, as well as account managers and compliance professionals who are on staff and work with clients. Agency Member Benefits Saves over individual membership rates under the agency membership list billing umbrella Streamlined billing process— one invoice, one renewal date, one payment Company ownership of the membership slots—if a person on the membership billing leaves your employment, you select the new member replacement Discounts on NAHU’s most …

Is COVID-19 a Pre-Existing Condition? What Could Happen if the ACA is Overturned

Published by: Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), having a pre-existing health condition, such as a severe respiratory illness, made it harder or even impossible for people to get and keep private health insurance in the individual market.  Coverage people bought on their own in this market was “medically underwritten” in most states. That meant applicants had to answer questions about their health status and history and, based on their answers, could be turned down, charged more, or offered a policy that permanently excluded their health condition.  Job-based group health plans could also exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions for up to one year.  However, people could change jobs and move to a new group health plan without a …

Did you know that NAHU has a podcast?

The NAHU Healthcare Happy Hour provides an in-depth review of the most recent trends in the health insurance industry as well as any actions being taken by Congress and the Trump Administration. The podcast is posted every Friday on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher. If you like what you hear, you can also share the podcast with friends and clients, but make sure you all subscribe so you won’t miss a posting. The Healthcare Happy Hour often features guest experts to provide even more background on the topics NAHU is covering for you, and posts special editions when there is breaking news. Tune-in to hear the latest from the Hill, what’s on tap to be acted on next, and our toast …

Report Shows Insurers Recognizing ‘Mega’ Claims More Quickly

Article Published by: The share of “mega” workers’ compensation claims — those expected to cost $3 million or more — climbed steadily since 2013 after dropping as construction employment declined sharply during the Great Recession, according to a report by the National Council on Compensation Insurance and nine state rating bureaus. The report, released Tuesday, says insurers are recognizing mega claims more quickly. That may be because many are now using analytical models to identify and triage claims with high cost potential early in the process. The report says significant increases in the number of reported mega claims in 2016 and 2017 may be attributable to insurers recognizing those claims earlier. READ MORE

COVID Testing Is Supposed to Be Free. So Why Are People Still Getting Huge Bills?

Article published by: Free, universal coronavirus testing is critical to flattening the arc of infection. But while federal law aims to make such testing easy to access and widely available, those efforts have fallen short for many Americans. The U.S. healthcare system — chaotic in any “normal” year — is being stretched tissue-paper thin by a flood of coronavirus cases, and squabbling between insurers and legislators about who should pay for that influx isn’t making things easier. READ MORE