The Robert woods Johnson Foundation has issued a new issue Brief as part of their continuing coverage of Health Insurance Marketplaces: Most Regionally Ranked Hospitals Stay In-Network with Marketplace Plans, But Participation Declines.

RWJF notes that "some of the most significant changes [to HIXs] relate to provider networks and access to out-of-network providers." To address this issue, they state that "in the absence of comprehensive data, one way to gain

Accenture has released new research that estimates that U.S. funding for on-demand healthcare companies – those providing location-based offerings with near-real-time and 24/7 services – will quadruple from over $200 million in 2014 to $1 billion by the end of 2017.

What are the healthcare topics generating interest in the Healthsprocket community? Here are the top ten lists viewed during the past 30 days:
1. Leavitt Partners: 4 key drivers of ACO growth
2. Kent Locklear, MD: 5 Elements of Effective Population Health
3. Scott Baltic: Four Ways to Reduce Hospital Readmissions
4. Top Ten Countries With The Lowest Infant Mortality Rate
5. Jennifer Bresnick: 5 Questions to Prep for Healthcare Big Data Analytics in 2016

A number of blogs and website offer their take and lists of healthcare social media trends and issues for 2016. Here's three places to check out current thinking on how to position yourself in this arena:

Medicom Health offers thesesocial media trends to watch for 2016. Their list includes:
1. Immediacy - they tell us "Videos, edited and posted after the fact no longer seem timely." Live is in.
2. Functionality - major apps are expanding their offerings

A number of lists recently posted in Healthsprocket address trends for 2016, such as the PwC Top Health Industry Issues Of 2016. Digging a little deeper, the current issue of MCOL ThoughtLeaders features a range of predicted key trends for 2016 from a number of healthcare thoughtleaders. While they elaborate on these items in the issue, here's their predictions reduced to summary list form:

A new study, “The Price Ain’t Right? Hospital Prices and Health Spending on the Privately Insured,” coauthored by Zack Cooper (Yale), Stuart Craig (University of Pennsylvania), Martin Gaynor (Carnegie Mellon), and John Van Reenen (London School of Economics) addresses how the prices hospitals negotiate with health insurance companies vary enormously within and across geographic regions in the United States.

United Health Foundation has just released the 26th America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their Communities.

Some of the accomplishments in the nation's health they highlight includes:
- Smoking rates decreased 5 percent in the last year alone, from 19 to 18.1 percent of adults, and have declined 39 percent since 1990.
- Rates of sedentary behavior, or adults who reported no physical activity in the last 30 days, declined 11 percent from 25.3 percent to 22.6 percent of adults.

Flu season is here. Walgreens has just launched its first weekly Flu Index for the 2015-’16 season. Walgreens states the index "provides state and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and is compiled using retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens locations nationwide."

2016 Health Plan Premium Projections

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 12:35

Major national consulting firms have weighed in with their projections for 2016 health plan premium increases. Here's the range of estimated increases after benefit plan adjustments are made by clients:
1) PwC: 4.5%
2) Mercer: 4.2%