September 17, 2012
When the Virginia General Assembly meets early next year, they will be making a number of important decisions about health care reform. In addition to deciding about a state Health Benefit Exchange (see update #41), the state will need to decide about whether to adopt a state law requiring health insurance companies to spend at least 80% of the money they collect in premiums on health care. This provision is another effort to reduce the long term cost increases in health care. Part of the idea is to force insurance companies to find real ways to save money, not to just squeeze payments to doctors. The federal government currently has a law requiring that and insurance companies in Virginia recently rebated $43 million to their customers. Virginia needs to decide if they want to run this system or continue to let the federal government enforce this law in the state.
Eight health care benefits for women are now covered with no co-pays. These benefits include “well-woman” visits, HPV DNA testing, breastfeeding support and domestic violence screening and counseling. Women will get access to these new benefits as health insurance policies renew. For more information see http://hamptonroads.com/2012/
The Virginia Main Street Alliance will be hosting a short educational presentation for small businesses in the Fredericksburg area on Monday, September 24, at 8:00 am at Foode Restaurant (1006 C/D Caroline Street) near downtown Fredericksburg.
For information about the General Assembly, or to find out who your legislators are go to http://legis.virginia.gov/
The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released its annual Employer Health Benefits Summary. It found that health insurance costs rose 4% last year. That’s a small increase given history but it is still higher than the inflation rate. The study also found that the average family health insurance policy now costs $15, 745. You can see a summary of the report at http://ehbs.kff.org/pdf/2012/
The federal government has a new online tool to help small businesses (and individuals) find health insurance options. See http://www.healthcare.gov/
Virginia Organizing and the Virginia Interfaith Center are hosting a training for citizens on a number of different issues, including health care reform, at the “Social Justice U”, 2:00 pm on Sunday, September 30 at Holy Apostles Church (1593 Lynnhaven Parkway, Virginia Beach). Everyone is welcome.
When Congress passed health care reform in 2010, they built in a couple years of implementation. The new law will not be fully in effect until January of 2014. At that time the new health insurance exchanges will start operating. See http://www.kff.org/
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