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Decreasing ACA Spending is Hitting Healthcare Hiring, but It’s not that Bad

iStock_000013353612SmallThe healthcare sector has taken the mantle of a rescuer over the last few years, when unemployment reared its ugly head. Healthcare sector has been one of the bright spots, adding jobs to the economy when other sectors, such as construction and manufacturing, were forced to lay off workers while struggling to make ends meet in a harsh economy. Unfortunately, the rules of the game have changed, and healthcare has suddenly lost its potency in job growth. Over the last year, health care sector has been lagging behind with only 1.4 percent annual hiring rate in 2014, and Affordable Care Act could be the key reason behind this lag.

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Medicaid – The Economics of Expansion and the Woodwork Effect

Young nurse and female senior in nursing homeMedicaid has long been a hot discussion point for Democrats and Republicans, and Medicaid Expansion is a new avenue where the sides are locking horns across all states. The case in point being the support given to Obamacare’s effects through the Medicaid expansion, which will work as a strategy to cover those up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line under the safety net of Medicaid. The expansion would specifically target people that are not being covered under PPACA’s laws and provide quality health and care to the underprivileged. However, the administration has not been able to reach an agreement with all the states on the aspect of Medicaid expansion, and 17 states have chosen not to expand Medicaid for supporting ACA.

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Overburdened Nurses – Is ACA making hospitals compromise on healthcare quality?

Preoccupied and tired young nurseWide health insurance coverage does not always translate into better healthcare facilities– this debate has long been at the helm of various health reforms. Various administrations have taken the incorrect approach to equating health insurance with improved healthcare service, and the Affordable Care Act seems to be on a path to the same debilitating mistake. After the closure of first enrollment period, Obamacare has caused an increase in the workload of nurses in hospitals across the country. This increase in burden is making nurses compromise on the quality of healthcare for patients, especially those that have recently got health insurance under Obamacare.

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Obamacare Implementation – ER visits are increasing after kick-in

Emergency signEmergency Room visits, seen as a one stop shop for all medical needs by many, has been on Obamacare’s radar for a long time. When strategy for Obamacare was being crafted, a key necessity was to reduce the number of visits to the Emergency Room by providing better care to people through widespread health insurance coverage. Unfortunately, after Obamacare health insurance coverage kicking in, data shows that emergency room visits are increasing drastically.

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ACA’s Next Phase – What can be learned from CHIP Implementation?

iStock_000003907794SmallThe celebration is nearly over and the administration has basked long enough in the glory of hitting 8 million enrollments, a million more than the target they set. The numbers are impressive, but so is the challenge ahead for the administration – ensuring that this next phase of ACA implementation goes as smoothly as possible. The performance of the administration in this phase is going to have a huge effect on the outreach and enrollment efforts for the upcoming open enrollment period.
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Obamacare Post Enrollments, What’s Happening and What’s Coming – Part 2

lock plantIn the first part of our series, we have covered how enrollment statistics can be broken to determine the current action points for the government. In this second part, we are going to cover the trends that will take root after the closure of the next enrollment period, just in the beginning of 2015. Let’s take a look.

1) Will there be rate increases in 2015 – The rate mechanics are still not very clear, mainly because of different exchanges in picture and the collective impact on federal and state exchanges through rate increases, if any. However, one thing is certain that after seeing rates across the industry, there will be some market consolidation. Those players which priced their offerings too high are going to cut down the costs to meet the market median, while those that priced their products too low will increase their costs and match the market standards. Naturally, when most players get into this game, increases or decreases are inevitable. Even if a rate increase comes into play, it should not be more than 10 percent. Since not much actionable data would be available by the time the rate revision cycle kicks in May 2015, the claim data would not have a drastic impact on the rate increase. Another reason that hints that rate increases should not be more than 10 percent is the fact that any increase over that calls for a federal review, and with lack of usable claim data to defend their move, health plans would not be aligned toward increasing rates beyond the 10 percent threshold.

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Obamacare Post Enrollments, What’s Happening and What’s Coming – Part 1

iStock_000019309847SmallNow that the first enrollment period is long closed and health exchanges have done their part in enrolling more than the set target, Obamacare is cruising fairly smoothly, with minor anomalies here and there. As we draw close to the next open enrollment period beginning in mid-November, let’s take a look at the major happenings post the 8 million enrollment feat, and what does ACA have in store for Americans in the near future. In the first part of this series, we are going to cover the major developments; figures and trends that have come up post enrollment closure. The second part is going to delve into the trends that will take hold in 2015.

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Failed State Exchanges – What are the Resuscitating Strategies?

thumbnailIn the initial stages of support seeking and lobbying, the nation was divided into two parts over Obamacare – states that sided with the administration and were ready to prepare their own state exchange in support of the act, and those that disagreed with the state exchange strategy and put the onus of creating the exchange on the federal side. Out of those states that made their own exchange, several were successful in delivering a solution that could enroll Americans conveniently, while others were tied in fate to the fall of the federal exchange. However, not all states that created their own exchange were successful.

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From Enrollments to healthcare – How will Obamacare fill the gaps?

Hand with magnifying glass and diagramObamacare’s final burst has yielded what the administration had been coveting for a long time – more than 7 million enrollments with a healthy share of young, healthy individuals who will balance the risks and keep the premiums in check. However, with nearly 8 million enrollments coming through the Obamacare exchanges, a new challenge is shaping up – how does the administration plan to meet the care requirements of the newly enrolled. The number of enrollments has increased drastically, and naturally, there are a couple of problems cropping up around it.

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Fewer Doctors and Hospitals – A New Challenge for Obamacare

Small problemWith the first enrollment period over, Obamacare has received more than 10 million applications through public and private exchanges for qualified health plans. People who were unable to afford insurance before PPACA finally got a chance to purchase better health insurance through subsidies and expanded Medicaid coverage. However, there are some unprecedented challenges surfacing after such a good run of enrollments – some of the insured do not have the same wide network of hospitals and doctors to support them and several  are unable to find the right combination of doctors and hospitals in their covered network.

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