News and Commentary

Arizona Nixes Doc Incentives, OKs Plan Liability


The publicity given to the Texas attorney general's agreement with Aetna overshadowed a more sweeping edict in Arizona regarding financial incentives to physicians.

A new state law taking effect this summer forbids plans from offering financial incentives to limit or delay care. The bill also gives members the right to sue health plans found responsible for causing patients substantial harm because of denials or delays of covered treatment.

Concerned that the bill would lead to higher health premiums, Gov. Jane Hull let it become law without her signature.

In another state-level development, Washington insurers that had stopped selling new individual policies because of the risk will again offer coverage, thanks to a law that allows them to raise premiums without state approval. Already, Premera Blue Cross has raised rates 24 percent for people who pay for their own coverage. The new law allows insurers to stratify patients by health risk and set rates accordingly.

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