Rising interest rates aren't the end of the world | Financial wellness survey shows concerns about emergency savings | College savings are up, but most people are not utilizing 529 plans
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May 22, 2018
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Rising interest rates aren't the end of the world
Interest rates are rising, but that's not all bad news for small-business owners, writes columnist Sarah Skidmore Sell. A rising economy is good for business, but this can increase the costs of borrowing, so it's a good idea to clean up your credit score and make a plan to time any large investments in equipment or facilities with the market.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch/The Associated Press (5/20) 
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Prospects, Products and Market Trends
Financial wellness survey shows concerns about emergency savings
PwC's 2018 Employee Financial Wellness Survey found 48% of millennials and 51% of Generation X workers cited not having sufficient emergency savings as their top financial concern, while 46% of baby boomers said it was not being able to retire at a time of their choosing. The survey found 25% of workers said having a financial wellness program with unbiased counselors was the benefit they wanted most for the future, and 41% said their company's financial wellness program had helped them control their spending.
PlanAdviser online (5/22) 
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College savings are up, but most people are not utilizing 529 plans
Americans are saving the highest amount of funds for college since 2013, but less than one-third are relying on 529 savings plans, according to a report by Sallie Mae. The most common tool parents are using to save for college is a general savings account.
ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (5/18) 
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Helping providers succeed reduces payer risk in VBC contracts
Payers can minimize the risk taken on when entering into value-based contracts by requiring health care providers to submit credentials and investing in technology that improves the submission and evaluation of credentials and enables data-sharing, according to the Council for Affordable Quality Care. Other experts say payers should get provider buy-in, help providers improve technological proficiency and educate them about contract requirements.
Health Payer Intelligence (5/17) 
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Policy and the Health Care Landscape
CDC finds little change in uninsured rate last year
The number of uninsured Americans increased slightly to 29.3 million, or 9.1% of the population, in 2017, statistically unchanged from 28.6 million in 2016, but 19.3 million lower than in 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act became law. Among adults ages 18 to 64, 12.8% lacked coverage, 69.3% had a private plan, and 43.7% had a high-deductible plan, up from 39.4% in 2016, according to the CDC.
CNBC (5/22),  MedPage Today (free registration) (5/22) 
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GAO urges CMS to continue prior authorization demonstrations
The Government Accountability Office released a report encouraging the CMS to continue its prior authorization demonstrations, which require providers and medical device suppliers to demonstrate compliance with payment and coverage rules before receiving payments for certain products and services. Estimates showed the CMS has saved up to $1.9 billion since the demonstrations started in 2012, but most of these programs have ended or will end soon.
Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (5/21) 
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Grassley seeks drugmaker support for bill to ease generic-drug development
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he is asking drugmakers to support the CREATES Act, which would facilitate the development of generic drugs, in exchange for using some of the $4 billion in savings the act is projected to generate to fund drugs for seniors in the Medicare drug coverage gap.
The Hill (5/21) 
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Va. budget plan includes Medicaid expansion
Republicans in the Virginia Legislature included a Medicaid expansion plan as part of a state budget proposal. Democrats support expanded Medicaid, Republicans are divided, and the new proposal would pay for the state's share of the cost of expansion with a new tax on hospitals.
The Associated Press (5/21) 
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NY State of Health posts enrollment gains in 2017
Individual enrollment in New York's health insurance marketplace increased by almost 700,000 over the past year, according to the state Health Department. Since NY State of Health opened, the uninsured rate in New York decreased from 10% in 2013 to less than 5% in 2017, and Executive Director Donna Frescatore said plan prices this year were lower or the same as last year in many cases.
Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) (tiered subscription model) (5/21) 
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Health Insurance Provider Company News
AHIP News
Ask Thought Leaders: How to Fix Health Care?
It’s time for some big ideas. We asked industry leaders from the CEO of AARP to top executives at MVP Health Care and HCSC what they would do to improve US health care if they had a magic wand. Check out their responses.
AHIP blog (5/8) 
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