Health Insurance News for Rural Arizona

Arizona State Senator, Gail Griffin – R-Hereford, sponsored a bill that will will prohibit health insurance carriers from declining payments for medical services provided through telemedicine. Put another way, if a medical treatment/condition is covered under a patient’s plan the insurance carrier will be required to pay whether it was provided physically in a doctor’s office or through a televised link-up.

One Blue Cross/Blue Shield represented indicated that he believed this legislation would save patients and the insurance carrier money. The cost of transporting a client from a rural area to an urban hospital is costly. If the client can be treated or advised medically through a televised link up it reduces costs.

Implementation of the new bill is being delayed until the latter part of 2014 to allay industry concerns.

And insurance carriers will only be required to pay for seven (burns, trauma, burns, infectious diseases, cardiology, mental health disorders, dermatology, and neurologic diseases, including strokes) treatments through the new televised method. This measure is being designed with 13 rural counties in mind, and the areas that are considered remote in Maricopa and Pima counties, like Gila Bend and Ajo.

Would the real Medicaid study please step forward

Two years ago the National Bureau of Economic Research published a study that concluded people are happier when they are on Medicaid. Those with Medicaid were compared to people not on Medicaid.

Supporters of nationalized health care have used this study to promote an expansion of Medicaid, according to one online article.

The New England Journal of Medicine went after the study to dig deeper.

Their determination, in part, is the original study seemed to focus on whether people seemed “happier” being on Medicaid than the overall effectiveness of the program in the lives of those who use the program. The new study also sought to determine if people were actually healthier. What they found is that people on Medicaid were not any more healthy than those not on Medicaid.

The New England Journal of Medicine study also concluded that Medicaid is pretty good if you have routine health issues. But if you need specialized care that is where the challenge truly begins. The report seemed to indicate that Medicaid resources are spread too thin to adequately help everyone who needs more than routine care. That cannot be good news for the elderly who rely on specialized care more than the rest of the population as a whole.