HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that while Massachusetts' healthcare reform has been successful in providing access to healthcare, its ability to continue the program amid the recession and spiraling costs is under increased scrutiny, particularly as the Obama administration pushes for an overhaul of the nation's healthcare system. According to the most recent New England Health Plan Analysis, Massachusetts is making solid moves to ensure it can continue its reform without having to make cuts or enact major price increases. A stakeholder group has been formed to evaluate the healthcare payment system and will be presenting recommendations that will promote cost-effective and patient-centered care in May.
"Reform efforts in Massachusetts should be able to withstand today's economic climate, but healthcare payment reform measures are vital to its success and will be under considerable scrutiny, particularly as recommendations for national healthcare reform policies are borrowing from the Massachusetts program," said Jane DuBose, director of Health Plan Analysis.
Also included in the report is an examination of multiple initiatives throughout New England states to help unemployed workers maintain health benefits. For example, in Rhode Island, where the unemployment rate hit 10.5 percent in February, the state's largest insurer, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, has relaxed eligibility requirements for its line of Direct Pay individual products to attract laid-off workers. In Maine, the governor has proposed a voucher program to assist with COBRA payments that will likely receive legislative approval.
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