Who Do Americans Trust For Information On the ACA?

When it comes to information on the new health care law, the American public is more likely to trust information from health care providers, according to a new Kaiser poll. Forty-four percent of respondents indicate they trust information from doctors and nurses, followed by state and federal agencies, community organizations and friends and family. Significantly fewer listed health insurance companies, news media and social media as trusted sources. Younger adults and democrats are more likely to trust information from official sources.

Yet while information from health care professionals and federal and state agencies is viewed as the most trustworthy, more people actually get their information from the news media. Over a third of the consumers surveyed reported actively seeking information on the ACA.

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Food For Thought—Will Health Insurance Benefits for Field Workers Effect the Food on Our Tables?

The ACA will require hundreds of thousands of field workers to be covered by health insurance, creating a large concern in American agriculture. The requirement to cover workers was recently delayed until 2015, but farm labor contractors are already preparing for concerns such as cost, inconvenience and the liabilities presented with this new legislation. California has a substantial $43.5 billion agricultural industry, estimating the new law to cost roughly $1 per hour, per employee working in the fields. Many farmers believe this regulation will ultimately lead to higher labor costs, which will eventually be passed on to the consumer, “That cost is going to be borne by us at the end of the day”, said Scott Deardorff, a partner at Oxnard-based Deardorff Family Farms.

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By October 1st, All Employers Must Notify Employees About Their Health Coverage Options

The ACA requires employers to notify employees about the new government-run health insurance marketplaces by October 1, 2013. The Department of Labor (DOL) has provided a three-page model notice that employers may use. Companies are also obligated to notify employees whether or not they offer health insurance coverage.

Click here to review that model.

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Health Insurers Interpret Benefits

The ACA will require health insurance companies to offer a core package of benefits in every health plan for individuals and small businesses. These essential health benefits will cover ten different categories of care including inpatient and outpatient care, maternity care, prescription drugs and laboratory services. While some categories are straightforward, insurance firms are crafting different interpretations of the rules. The ways in which insurers arrange benefits may affect people with expensive chronic illnesses or those who need ongoing therapy. These new policies go into effect January 1, 2014, leaving consumer’s limited time to research plans that will benefit them.

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Hospital Mergers Expected Due To ACA

A new trend is sweeping across the nation as hospitals are being picked up by a wave of mergers, resulting in supersized hospital systems. Changes are happening faster than predicted, as Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City (one of the country’s oldest and largest private non-profit hospitals) is buying the parent of Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals. Booz & Company, a consulting firm, predicts that 1,000 of the nations roughly 5,000 hospitals could seek out mergers in the next five to seven years. The consolidation of hospitals has the potential to reduce costs in back-office activities but skeptics agree that is poses a risk of increasing healthcare costs.

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Verifying Consumer Claims

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsThe Affordable Care Act poses many forms of new regulations in the healthcare industry, including IT.  By October 1st, 2013 uninsured Americans will have access to a virtual market of affordable health insurance policies.  According to The Fiscal Times, “The Health and Human Services Department and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are in the process of building and testing a complex “Data Hub” that will enable applicants and government officials to access a wide array of information that is essential to making the on-line insurance exchanges  work.”  Applicants will enter personal data into the website which will then refer them to an insurance company offering a personalized plan. The federal government will heavily rely on consumers’ self-reported information until 2015, when it plans to have stronger verification systems in place.  Alan R., Duncan, the assistant inspector general for audit at the Treasury department, warned that the government might miss its deadline.

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CBO: Supreme Court Decision Cuts ACA Cost By $84B

The 11-year cost of the federal healthcare overhaul will drop by $84 billion according to projections released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) earlier this week.

The projected savings stem from expected reductions in Medicaid enrollment that will more than offset an associated increase in costs for those who seek coverage from insurance exchanges.

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