Health Beat: HHS Releases State Fact Sheets On Affordable Care Act

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 68 views 

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AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WORKING IN ARKANSAS, HHS SAYS
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday released its Affordable Care Act fact sheets for all 50 states on Tuesday, saying that some 65,684 Arkansans selected or were automatically re-enrolled for health insurance through the federal marketplace as of Feb. 22.

“The Affordable Care Act is working to make health care more affordable, accessible, and high quality for the people of Arkansas,” HHS said in a statement.

Overall, Arkansas has received $158 million in grants for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of its marketplace, federal officials said. Open enrollment for 2015 coverage ended on Feb. 15, 2015.

Open enrollment for 2016 coverage runs from November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. Arkansans can visit HealthCare.gov to see if they qualify for a “special enrollment” because of a life change like marriage, having a baby or losing other coverage. Enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is open year round.

Access the fact sheets at this link.

IBM’s JEOPARDY-BEATING ‘WONDER COMPUTER’ WATSON NOW TAKING ON HEALTHCARE
IBM’s cloud-based wonder computer, called Watson, is taking its computing abilities and cognitive skills into the healthcare field.

According to an IBM news release on Tuesday, Watson is collaborating with healthcare software firm Epic and Mayo Clinic to advance patient health by applying the cognitive computing capabilities of Watson to Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

Currently, Epic has more than 350 customers – some of the largest and most-recognized healthcare systems in the world – and they exchanged more than 80 million medical records in the last 12 months, both within and outside the Epic community. “Accessing Watson’s virtual brainpower from the Epic platform is energizing from a creative standpoint,” said Epic president, Carl Dvorak.

Watson, famously known for whipping two all-time Jeopardy champions on the popular game show in 2011, is also catching the attention of Wall Street as IBM is finding more and more ways to cash in on the supercomputer’s brainpower. Warren Buffett recently revealed that he purchased a 5% stake in the tech giant for $11 billion.

Click here to check out Watson’s website and learn more about his/her famous human-like cognitive ability.

BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD CEO: ‘PREPARING FOR MORE OPTIONS THAN JUST ONE’
The CEO of the state’s largest health insurance provider said that variables and options surrounding health insurance reform have made business planning tricky, but he expects more of the same uncertainty as a state task force grapples with a restructuring of Arkansas’ health care system.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield president and CEO Mark White said the last several years have been tumultuous for his firm and the entire industry.

“Our focus has been on understanding the variables and how to deal with those,” he said, citing enrollment problems due to Healthcare.gov and communication challenges in reaching newly enrolled populations. Read more of his comments and watch a video interview at this link.