State Roundup: Mass. Health Plans Lauded For Comprehensiveness

A selection of stories from Massachusetts, Kansas, Georgia, Oregon and California.

The Boston Globe: Mass. Health Plans Among Most Comprehensive In The Country
Health insurance plans offered in Massachusetts and analyzed by U.S. News & World Report were found to be among the most comprehensive in the country. The analysis included 67 plans from four Massachusetts insurers that are sold to individuals or families. Each earned at least four of five stars based on scope of coverage and cost to consumers. In other states, the portion of plans with the higher rankings ranged from 4 percent in Washington to 94 percent in New York (Conaboy, 10/3).

Kansas Health Institute News: KanCare Provider Manuals Still Not Finalized
State approval of the KanCare managed care companies' provider manuals is taking longer than initially expected, which means many Medicaid service providers are still holding off on signing KanCare network contracts in the face of looming deadlines. "We know that providers are eager to have the final versions," of the manuals said Miranda Steele, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (Ranney, 10/3).

The Associated Press: Ga. GOP Lawmakers Face Uncomfortable Tax Choice
Georgia Republican lawmakers could face the wrath of a GOP powerbroker who is warning them not to renew a hospital tax that supports care for poor patients. If they agree to end the tax, it would worsen the strain on an already stretched state budget and could burden hospitals and their emergency rooms with patients who lack insurance or don't have enough coverage to pay for their care (Barrow and Henry, 10/3).

The Lund Report: Oregon's Insurance Commissioner Speaks Out About Regence BlueCross BlueShield
Regence BlueCross BlueShield is in the hot seat again. This time actuaries from inside the Oregon Insurance Division are in the midst of conducting an in-depth financial review at Regence's headquarters in downtown Portland -- looking for any irregularities and whether the insurer has the financial stability to meet the needs of its policyholders. Oregon's insurance commissioner, Lou Savage, made it quite clear that Regence isn't being targeted because of any issues that have arisen in the past several months (Lund-Muzikant, 10/3).

California Healthline: Physicians, Nurse Practitioners At Odds Over New Roles
It's a time of celebration and indignation for Beth Haney, president of the California Association of Nurse Practitioners. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a bill that will remove a six-month waiting period for new NP graduates to write prescriptions. However, earlier last week, the American Academy of Family Physicians came out with a policy paper that raised questions about the wisdom of expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners (Gorn, 10/3).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.