Health Care Industry Update

Health Care Industry Update

August 2008
House Introduces Bill to Extend Coverage to College Students on Medical Leave The United States House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 2851 in order to amend ERISA so that dependent college students who take a medically necessary leave of absence from school are able to maintain their health insurance during their leave. The new law, if enacted, would be known as "Michelle's Law," after a college student in New Hampshire, who was diagnosed with colon cancer and was informed that if she took a leave of absence from school while seeking treatment, she would no longer qualify to be on her parents? health insurance. Medicare Bill Becomes Law On July 15, both the U.S. House and the Senate voted to override President Bush's veto of H.R. 6331, the "Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008." It is estimated that H.R. 6331 will reduce Medicare Advantage funding by approximately $13.8 billion over 5 years. Key provisions of the law address Medicare Advantage funding; network requirements for private fee?for-service (PFFS) plans; and part D provisions including new prompt pay requirements, Medicare physician reimbursement and other Medicare fee-for-service issues. Employer Health Care Costs Expected to Rise in 2008 and 2009 A recent study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers projected that employer health care costs will rise by approximately 10% in 2008 and an additional 10% in 2009. The study attributed the rise mainly to hospital building, including the replacement of facilities and creation of outpatient treatment centers, and an increase in expenses to employers to offset the cost of the uninsured. According to the study, one of every five dollars spent by private insurers can be attributed to the uninsured population.
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