Need Health Insurance? The Deadline Is Dec. 15

December 10, 2018, KHN, Michelle Andrews- The woman arrived at the University of South Florida’s navigator office in Tampa a few weeks ago with a 40-page document describing a short-term health insurance plan she was considering. She was uncomfortable with what the broker had said about the coverage, she told Jodi Ray, a health insurance navigator who helps people enroll in coverage, and she wanted help understanding it. The document was confusing, according to Ray, who oversees Covering Florida, the state’s navigator program. It was hard to decipher which services would be covered. “It was like a bunch of puzzle pieces,” she said. Encouraged by her wife, the woman eventually opted instead for a marketplace plan with comprehensive benefits.

House set to vote on bill cracking down on drug companies overcharging Medicaid

December 7, 2018, The Hill, Peter Sullivan- The House is expected to vote next week on a bill to crack down on drug companies that overcharge the government, according to two House aides. The bipartisan bill is aimed at stopping a repeat of the actions from Mylan, the maker of EpiPen, which made headlines last year for overcharging the Medicaid program for its commonly used product by as much as $1.27 billion over 10 years.

Hood sues three major opioid distributors

December 7, 2018, Mississippi Today, Larrison Campbell- Just a year after announcing his investigation into opioid distributors, Attorney General Jim Hood has sued three of the country’s biggest ones, arguing their negligence flooded the state with more drugs than Mississippians could reasonably use. The suit, filed Thursday in Hinds County Circuit Court, alleges that Cardinal Health, Inc., McKesson Corporation, and AmerisourceBergen Corporation failed to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders. All of this is a violation of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act.

Why Is Obamacare Enrollment Down?

December 6, 2018, The New York Times, Reed Abelson and Margot Sanger-Katz- More than halfway through the sign-up period for Obamacare health plans, fewer people have enrolled in coverage than during the same stretch last year. Enrollment through the federal website, which manages insurance marketplaces in 39 states, is down 11 percent compared to 2017, according to government figures released Thursday.  Given President Trump’s assault on the law, many people are watching this year’s enrollment closely for clues to its durability. While it is too soon to draw any firm conclusions, there are several reasons sign-ups could be lower - and not all of them spell trouble for the landmark legislation.

Without Obamacare Penalty, Think It’ll Be Nice To Drop Your Plan? Better Think Twice

December 5, 2018, KHN, Emily Bazar-  Dana Farrell’s car insurance is due. So is her homeowner’s insurance - plus her property taxes.It’s also time to re-up her health coverage. But that’s where Farrell, a 54-year-old former social worker, is drawing the line. “I’ve been retired two years and my savings is gone. I’m at my wit’s end,” says the Murrieta, Calif., resident. So Farrell plans - reluctantly - to drop her health coverage next year because the Affordable Care Act tax penalty for not having insurance is going away.

Mississippi Medicaid Increasing Visits to Doctors’ Offices

December 4, 2018, U.S. News, Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press- Mississippi’s Medicaid program will soon start covering more doctors’ office visits for its recipients in a move that officials hope will ultimately save the state some money. Starting Jan. 1, most recipients can see a physician up to 16 times a year. That is an increase from the current limit of 12. The Division of Medicaid announced the new policy Tuesday, months after Gov. Phil Bryant signed a law authorizing several changes in Medicaid services. Legislators have said lifting the cap on physicians’ visits could encourage Medicaid recipients to seek preventative health care rather than waiting to seek more expensive care in emergency rooms after serious conditions develop. Division of Medicaid spokesman Matt Westerfield said it’s difficult to estimate how often people will change where and when they seek medical services.