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Growing Numbers of Californians Are Having Problems Paying Medical Bills — and Half Say They Have Skipped or Postponed Health Care in the Last Year Due to Cost

The rising cost of health care continues to be one of California’s most urgent issues, with one in four Californians saying they have struggled to pay at least one medical bill in the past 12 months — up from 20% last year — and 49% saying they have postponed care due to cost, according to a newly released statewide survey conducted by the California Health Care Foundation and NORC at the University of Chicago. Of those who postponed care, the survey finds, 47% report their health condition worsened as a result, ...

Doctor, hospital groups organize to oppose single-payer in California

A group of influential, deep-pocketed business and health care organizations that have long helped shape the legislative agenda in California have joined forces to oppose any future effort to craft a universal, single-payer health care system for the nation’s largest state. The main focus of the coalition, called “Californians against the costly disruption of our health care,” is to kill any single-payer health care bill in the state Legislature, said Ned Wigglesworth, a political strategist for the coalition. Read More...

Health Net Federal Services experiences significant challenges with TRICARE transition

On January 1, 2018, Health Net Federal Services (HNFS) became the new Defense Heath Agency (DHA) managed care contractor for the TRICARE West Region, serving approximately 2.9 million beneficiaries in 21 western states, including California. HNFS took over the contract previously held by UnitedHealthcare Military and Veterans’ Services (UMVS). The California Medical Association (CMA) has learned that HNFS has experienced implementation issues related to provider contracting and credentialing, beneficiary reassignment to new primary care managers (PCM), and provider directory inaccuracies. Read More

Health Net to rescind recently announced payment policies

Since Health Net first notified physicians in March of planned changes to its modifier 25 and emergency services payment policies for Medicare and Medi-Cal lines of business, the California Medical Association (CMA) has been working to educate the payor about physician concerns with the new policies. Last month Health Net agreed to delay implementation of the new policies until July 1, 2018, to allow time to review provider concerns with the new policies and to continue discussions with CMA and other stakeholders. “We believe a more collaborative approach to identify alternative ...

CMA survey finds rampant health plan payment abuses

Despite a California law passed in 2000 to address widespread payment abuses by health care service plans, many payors continue to flout the law. A recent survey by the California Medical Association (CMA) confirms that health plans regularly engage in unfair payment practices, with two-thirds of physician practices reporting routine payment abuses in violation of state law. The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has been slow to address provider complaints and has taken few enforcement actions against health plans that unlawfully underpay providers. When DMHC has acted, the penalty ...