Category Archives: Health Insurers & Managed Care Organizations

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“The No Surprises Act” a/k/a “The Act that Continues Surprising Providers”

The No Surprises Act (the “Act”) continues muddling through its implementation period. We have discussed the Act in prior posts, and most recently on March 8, 2022. The surprises have continued, with new updates coming out almost daily! There has been legal movement as health care providers and facilities (collectively, “Providers”) have brought lawsuits against … Continue Reading

UPDATE: No Surprises Here – Portions of the No Surprises Act Regulations Invalidated

The No Surprises Act (the Act) continues to bump through its initial implementation phase. As we discussed in our prior blog, out-of-network physicians and facilities (OON Providers), and their allies, are pushing back against portions of the recently issued interim final rule with comment period (the Interim Rule). Most recently, they succeeded in doing so … Continue Reading

Healthcare Discrimination Based on Disability – Still Prohibited in the Pandemic!

It may seem as though the pandemic is coming to an end, but while COVID cases are declining,  they have not ceased. As the pandemic continues, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights issued new guidance on February 4, 2022 to remind healthcare providers that federal disability laws remain in … Continue Reading

Surprised Providers Seek Changes to Latest Provisions of the No Surprises Act

Effective January 1, 2022, new billing protections went into effect that have the goal of providing greater protections for patients against surprise medical bills. As we discussed in our prior blog, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury, and the Office of Personnel Management (collectively, the Departments) implemented these additional protections that … Continue Reading

Providers Get Unpleasant Surprise from Latest Provisions to the No Surprises Act

Efforts to stop surprise medical costs are continuing to evolve. The Departments of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Labor, and Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”), and the Office of Personnel Management issued an interim final rule (“Interim Rule“) with comment period on September 30, 2021 that implements provisions of the No Surprises Act. The majority of … Continue Reading

Should You Consider Offering Cheaper Health Plan Coverage in 2022 for Vaccinated Employees?

If you still have unvaccinated workers in January, might you provide a financial incentive for employees to be vaccinated, by charging them higher healthcare insurance premiums? That is the question facing exhausted but dedicated corporate Human Resources leaders as they approach annual open enrollment season, in which employees are asked to lock in their 2022 … Continue Reading

Group Health Plan Sponsors are Getting Serious About Pricing Transparency – Are You Keeping Up?

In early July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Labor (Labor), and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) (collectively, the Departments), along with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released an interim final rule related to the No Surprises Act, legislation designed to protect patients from unexpected medical bills. The … Continue Reading

OIG Weighs In On COVID-19 Vaccination Incentives

The media has widely reported that several governmental, non-profit, and private organizations, including entities in the healthcare sector, are offering a variety of incentives to encourage more individuals to take the COVID-19 vaccine. While this approach may increase the number of vaccinated individuals, it can also implicate the healthcare fraud and abuse laws when Federal … Continue Reading

A Glossary of Commonly Used Acronyms in Florida Managed Care

Anyone who interacts with third party payors encounter acronyms on a regular basis. While acronyms are intended to facilitate efficient communication, their use often instead leads to confusion. This blog is intended to provide a brief overview of some commonly used acronyms in managed care. Please note that, although some of the acronyms are specifically … Continue Reading

“Historic” Settlement of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Antitrust Action May Significantly Boost Competition in Health Insurance Markets in 2021

After over 8 years of hard-fought litigation, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, together with its 36 Blue Cross/Blue Shield members (“the Blues”), recently announced a proposed settlement of class action antitrust litigation (In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation) brought against them by a nationwide class of subscriber members. The settlement terms, … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Rules Government Must Pay $12 Billion to Unprofitable ACA Insurers

Despite Congress’ efforts to use riders to neutralize a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Act), the Federal government (Government) owes certain insurers $12 billion. On April 27, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled 8-1 that congressional riders added to appropriations bills that funded the Centers for Medicare & … Continue Reading

2020 Legislative Session –A Sampling of Health Related Bills Filed

The 2020 Legislative Session will begin its 60-day trek to completion on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. The following is a sample of bills that have been filed. We encourage you to review these bills, and contact us with specific questions about them. The listing of these bills should not be interpreted as any indication that … Continue Reading

2019 Legislative Session – The Passage of Telehealth (HB 23)

In the closing days of this year’s legislative session, the Florida House and Senate came to agreement on statutory language that adopts the parameters for telehealth for Florida. HB 23, sponsored by Representative Clay Yarborough, establishes a statutory basis for telehealth services, provides meaningful definitions of the terms telehealth and telehealth provider, and creates Section … Continue Reading

Year in Review/Year Ahead: The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act of 2018-The New All-Payor Anti-Kickback Statute

The Akerman Healthcare Practice Group, as part of its ongoing informational blogs and Practice Updates, will be publishing a series of articles, each outlining a significant healthcare industry issue from 2018, with an eye towards what to expect in 2019.  The following is the first in our series – The Year in Review/The Year Ahead: … Continue Reading

CMS Announces Loosening of Rules Regarding Part D Formularies

In a memorandum issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Management (“CMS”) on August 29, 2018, the federal government outlined new ‘flexibility’ and tools for Part D plans to “expand choices and lower drug prices for patients.” Beginning in 2020, Part D plans will be able to utilize what is called ‘indication-based formulary design’ … Continue Reading

States Begin to Hold Hearings on the Proposed CVS/Aetna Merger

In December of 2017, CVS Health and Aetna announced their intention to merge. The transaction, if approved by regulators, would combine the country’s second largest pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), Caremark – a CVS subsidiary – and the nation’s third largest commercial health insurer, Aetna, and has been valued at $69 billion. Since the announcement, federal … Continue Reading

Will President Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Have an Influence on The Healthcare Industry?

On July 9, 2018, President Trump announced his intention to nominate D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Since the announcement, there has been considerable discussion about what Judge Kavanaugh’s views are on several “hot button” issues, including free speech, religious-rights and abortion, and how Judge … Continue Reading

Per se versus ‘Rule of Reason’ Standard: Judge in Blue Cross Antitrust MDL Proceeding Certifies His Decision For Interlocutory Appeal

In a somewhat unexpected but highly significant move, United States District Judge David Procter (Northern District of Alabama), who is presiding over the In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation (Case No. 2:13-cv-20000, N.D. Alabama), has granted defendants’ request that he certify his ruling that the defendants’ alleged conduct should be assessed under a … Continue Reading

Pharmacies Accuse Drug Maker of Anticompetitive Contracting to Restrict Biosimilar Market

Walgreens and Kroger have filed an antitrust action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania accusing Johnson & Johnson (J&J) of engaging in anticompetitive conduct designed to stymie the growth of biosimilar alternatives to J&J’s Remicade, a biologic drug used to treat certain chronic immune disorders (Walgreen Co. v. Johnson … Continue Reading

The 2018 SMMC Proposed Contract Awards: Where Do You Go From Here?

On April 24 the Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA”) released its proposed contract awards for the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (“SMMC”) Program.  The determinations that AHCA made for this 5 year, $90 billion re-procurement were surprising to many and are likely to result in a significant reshaping of the program that currently exists.  First, … Continue Reading

Health Insurers Contend Allergy Test Maker’s Antitrust Claims Make No Economic Sense – Seek Early Dismissal on that Basis

Three health insurers accused of having violated the antitrust laws in Academy of Allergy & Asthma in Primary Care v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, et al. (Eastern District of Louisiana), have filed motions seeking a swift win in the matter prior to the commencement of discovery. In support of their request, Humana, Blue … Continue Reading

GDPR: What You Need to Know Now

It is safe to say that there has been much fear and confusion over the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Rule, or GDPR. With an effective date of May 25, 2018, and little guidance as to how the GDPR applies to organizations that do not have a physical presence in the EU or do … Continue Reading

Reversal of Fortune: Rhode Island Court Withdraws “Tentative” Decision to Grant Summary Judgment to Health Insurer in Health System Antitrust Case and Sets Matter for Trial

In what was a surprise result, on April 23, Judge William Smith (Chief Judge of the District of Rhode Island) reversed the “tentative” decision he had announced last November, in Steward Health v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, which would have granted defendant Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBS-RI) … Continue Reading

Partial Summary Judgment Granted to Plaintiffs in the In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation MDL Proceeding

On April 5, United States District Judge David Proctor (N.D. Alabama) granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs in the In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation, ruling that a network of trademark licensing agreements between the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member insurance companies (referred to as the ‘Blues’), which plaintiffs … Continue Reading
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