MANAGED CARE October 2004. ©MediMedia USA
Good news for government workers enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Premiums are expected to increase 7.9 percent next year. This after five consecutive years of double-digit hikes.... PPO demonstration projects for Medicare in 2001 and 2002 may have benefited by CMS officials exceeding their legislative authority, according to a General Accounting Office report. Apparently, former CMS Administrator Thomas Scully stepped over the line in having Medicare take most of the risk if costs for Medicare beneficiaries were higher than PPOs anticipated.... A class-action lawsuit filed by 900,000 physicians could mean financial disaster for the managed care industry, according to lawyers representing insurers who are alleged to have systematically underpaid the doctors. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals says the doctors may sue as a group, rather than have to sue the insurers individually. Health plans involved are: Health Net, Humana, PacifiCare, Prudential, UnitedHealthcare, and Wellpoint.... Seventy-eight percent of the country wants universal health care similar to what exists in Canada and Great Britain, according to a survey by the Civil Society Institute. Further, about one-third of the 1,020 people surveyed say that they were already or would consider buying medication from Canada or other countries.