Wed, October 19, 22

New Poll: Texas Voters Support a Strong Medicaid Program

88% of Texas voters say it’s important to have a strong, sustainable Medicaid program according to a new Morning Consult poll. Why it matters: Texas Medicaid provides coverage…

Mon, September 12, 22

Medicaid Monday: Service Coordinators Connect Members to Services

Today’s Texas Medicaid is more than health care coverage—it connects Texans to the personalized care and support they need to stay healthy and live the fullest lives possible. Medicaid managed care gives Texans with complex medical needs access to caring health plan nurses that provide one-on-one support and walk families through every step of the complicated and overwhelming health care system.

Mon, August 8, 22

Medicaid Monday: Managed Care Organizations Partnering with HHSC To Address Eligibility Issues After the Public Health Emergency

As the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency approaches, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is actively preparing to complete a large number of eligibility and enrollment actions. Beginning as soon as mid-October, an estimated 3.7 million Texans will need to have their Medicaid eligibility redetermined. For those individuals who found themselves needing Medicaid for the first time during the pandemic, this will be their first experience with the redetermination process. 

Mon, June 13, 22

Medicaid Monday: Managed Care Means Innovation

In Texas, the 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver allows the state to expand managed care, which allows for innovations not permitted in traditional fee-for-service Medicaid. Since the inception of managed care, ensuring high-quality care for members has been the work of managed care organizations. Here are some ways Texas managed care health plans go beyond the walls of a doctor’s office to increase community access to services, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, and improve the quality of members’ lives.

Mon, May 23, 22

Medicaid Monday: Managed Care Reduces ER Visits

The use of emergency rooms for primary care services is decreasing, thanks to Medicaid managed care. A recent report by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) shows a 15.5% decrease in the number of potentially preventable emergency room visits in Texas Medicaid and CHIP programs. This is great news for both Medicaid members and taxpayers. Utilizing preventative and standard care before conditions become emergencies leads to better health outcomes and to less costly care.

Mon, May 9, 22

Medicaid Monday: Medicaid Managed Care Nurses Make a Difference

Did you know National Nurses Week is now Nurses Month? Extended in 2020 to recognize the extraordinary efforts of nurses during the early days of the pandemic, the American Nurses Association adopted the evergreen theme “Nurses Make a Difference.” At TAHP, we want to acknowledge the positive impact Medicaid managed care nurses have on the lives of their patients.

Mon, May 2, 22

Medicaid Monday: New Moms Still High-Risk for Medicaid Churn

By Jessica Lynch As the public health emergency winds down, millions risk losing Medicaid coverage, not because they no…

Tue, March 29, 22

Texas Breaking Enrollment Records

New Census Data reports show that Texas still has the highest uninsured rates in the nation at 17.3 percent— a full 3 percentage points higher than the state with the next-highest uninsured rate, Oklahoma. Why does this matter? Because study after study shows that when families have health care coverage, they have better health care outcomes. Texans with insurance are more likely to receive preventative, primary, and specialty care services. 

Thu, February 24, 22

The New Hidden Fee That is Surprising Patients with Excessive Medical Bills

There is a new billing scheme that is misleading Texas patients with  hidden costs—facility fees. These excessive hospital based fees, often in the thousands of dollars for very basic services, have long come under criticism from patients and consumers for creating surprise medical bills that Texans cannot afford. But, it’s not only hospitals that are charging these hidden fees anymore. The out-of-control expansion of these unreasonable fees is driving up the cost of premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Texas families and employers.

Wed, February 16, 22

Texans Continue to Experience COVID-19 Price Gouging

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Texans have been tricked into a new type of health care price gouging – outrageous COVID-19 testing.

Fri, February 11, 22

Jessica Lynch Joins TAHP As Director of Policy, Government Program

February 11, 2022 Jamie Dudensing Today, the Texas Association of Health Plans formally announced that Jessica Lynch will join…

Fri, January 28, 22

Texas’ Individual Insurance Market is More Competitive Than Ever

A record number of Americans signed up for health care coverage through Affordable Care Act marketplaces at the same time a number of new plans joined the market. About 14.5 millions Americans signed up for an ACA plan during the enrollment period that ended January 15. That’s 2 million more than ever before.

Wed, December 8, 21

Texans Deserve More Than a Health Care Safety Net

For many of the five million uninsured Texans, our state’s health care safety net is their routine source of health care and final life line. Although critically important for these Texans, it’s worth asking, “why is a safety net the first and only option for so many Texans?” Proponents of safety net only policies fail to realize that safety net care should be a last resort, not a plan for a healthy Texas.

Thu, December 2, 21

Look for New Patient Protections in Your Stocking This Holiday Season

As we near the January 1, 2022 start date of the wildly popular new law to end the egregious practice of surprise medical bills, debate over the details has heated up. Following the release of interim final rules in October, the same physicians that initially fought to preserve the practice of sending patients unexpected bills are now complaining over the details of how they’ll be paid.

Tue, September 14, 21

SDOH: What’s Keeping You Healthy?

hroughout the day to maintain a healthy lifestyle—nutritious meals, regular physical activity, access to medical care and pharmacies, clean drinking water, and the opportunity to get a good night’s rest.

Fri, August 27, 21

Coming September 1: New Texas Health Care Laws

The 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature began in the midst of a pandemic that made health care and health care policy a central part of almost every debate. Not only did we see creation policies responding to the COVID pandemic, but we also saw greater emphasis on all areas of health care policy and what it means for Texans.

Mon, August 16, 21

Medicaid Monday: 56 Years of Medicaid

In the summer of 1965, President and Texan Lyndon Johnson signed the law that would put Medicaid into effect. Fifty-six years later, Medicaid is an essential program for the health of many Americans. In Texas, Medicaid connects more than 4 million Texans with the greatest medical needs to health care and coverage.

Wed, August 11, 21

Texas Covered Conference + Expo Agenda Release

Today, the Texas Association of Health Plans released its agenda for the upcoming Texas Covered Conference + Expo, which will be held November 8-10 in Austin, Texas.

Fri, August 6, 21

Don’t Be Surprised: Texas Should Follow the Example of the First No Surprises Act

Act, which was adopted in December to provide patient protections against surprise billing.

Wed, July 28, 21

Uninsured Texans Have Two Weeks to Take Advantage of Special ACA Enrollment

In response to the pandemic, the Biden Administration created a special enrollment period for Americans that started on July 1 and runs through August 15. This gives consumers additional time to shop for coverage and to take advantage of new savings through the American Rescue Plan.

Mon, July 19, 21

Medicaid Monday: STAR Kids Program Beats National Benchmark

A recent external study showed that Texas’ STAR Kids program beats national benchmarks in the majority of areas. These areas include getting needed care (66% compared to 61%), positive customer experience (76% to 68%), specialist rating (82% to 74%) and access to prescription medications (75% to 69%).

Thu, July 15, 21

State of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage in Texas

Last month, AHIP, the national organization for health plans, released state-by-state data breaking down employer-sponsored health coverage in each state. In Texas, almost 13.5 million Texans were covered by an employer-sponsored plan, the way the majority of Texans (52%) have health insurance coverage.

Tue, June 22, 21

TAHP’s End of Session Guide

Like every session, the 87th Texas Legislature was full of action and surprises. Throughout the 140 days of the regular session, Texas Association of Health Plans was monitoring and actively participating every step of the way, all with the goal of helping our members as they endeavor to make Texas a healthier place.

Fri, June 11, 21

SB 2038: Opportunity for Governor Abbott to Address FSER Price Gouging

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Texas has seen a dangerous trend of outrageous bills for COVID-19 testing, including numerous bills over $10,000. Most of these excessive bills are often tied to freestanding emergency rooms. Not only do these facilities overcharge for the test, they often pile on thousands of dollars in physician, facility, and observation fees. In many of these cases, Texas patients received drive-thru testing, where no medical care was delivered other than a simple COVID test.

Wed, June 9, 21

Apply To Speak! – Texas Covered 2021

Covered Conference + Expo that will take place in person in Austin (COVID permitting) from November 8-10. The conference is the largest event of its kind in Texas and brings together decision-makers from across the health care spectrum—from major health plans, providers, and regulators, to legislators, journalists, academics, and more.

Mon, June 7, 21

Medicaid Monday: Legislative Update

June 7, 2021 One week ago today, the 87th Texas Legislature completed the regular session. This Medicaid Monday we’re…

Tue, June 1, 21

Prescription Drug Benefits Are A Big Problem for Small Businesses

A recent survey of small business owners provides a warning for policy makers. Nearly one in three small business owners that provide health coverage to employees has considered dropping it—the vast majority because costs are too high.

Mon, May 24, 21

Medicaid Monday: Improving Client Communication

May 24, 2021 The managed care model has transformed Texas Medicaid from a disjointed, ineffective system to a more…

Thu, May 13, 21

Overutilization by Hospitals Puts Texas Patients at Risk

When people visit a hospital, they are often in the most vulnerable position of their lives. They need to be able to trust that tests and treatments ordered for them are both safe and medically necessary.

Mon, May 10, 21

Medicaid Monday: Managed Care Plans Deliver During COVID-19

In the last decade, Medicaid managed care transformed Texas Medicaid into a more efficient and effective system that helps Texans live healthy and full lives. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how managed care can respond to patient and community needs beyond what is available through a fee-for-service model.

Tue, May 4, 21

“Insurance-Like” Products Erode Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions

heduled to hear two bills that would allow “insurance-like” products that would create instability in the market, drive up premiums, and expose Texans, particularly those with pre-existing conditions, to significant liabilities.

Mon, May 3, 21

Medicaid Monday: Celebrating Managed Care Nurses

Thursday kicks off Nurses Week, which runs from May 6 through 12 this year. While all nurses deserve to be celebrated, TAHP would like to highlight a special group of nurses in Medicaid managed care. Texans with complex medical needs in Medicaid have access to health plan nurses who provide one-on-one support and walk families through every step of the complicated and overwhelming health care system.

Thu, April 29, 21

Legislators Need to Know the Cost of Health Care Mandates

When members of the Texas Legislature consider a bill, they often consider the fiscal note (an estimate of what new legislation would cost the state) to weigh the costs and benefits of the legislation and make a decision. But when it comes to health care, legislators also need to understand the financial impact new health insurance mandates have on Texas employers and families.

Thu, April 22, 21

Prioritize Addressing Abuse in the Texas Commercial Market

While the Texas Legislature has devoted considerable resources to combating fraud, waste and abuse in the state’s Medicaid program, little has been done to combat the same issues in the commercial insurance market where abuse is 50% more prevalent and costs $75 billion more than in Medicaid.

Mon, April 19, 21

Medicaid Monday: Texas Medicaid MCOs Work Beyond the Walls of a Doctor’s Office

Today’s Texas Medicaid health plans provide more than health care coverage—they connect Texans to the personalized care and support they need to stay healthy and live their lives to the fullest. Texas Medicaid health plans also provide services that go beyond the walls of a doctor’s office, including helping with transportation, coordinating meals, helping with housing and navigating challenges at school and work.

Tue, April 13, 21

Texas Should Ban Efforts by Big Pharma to Manipulate Drug Costs

As the old joke goes, drug dealers always offer you the first hit for free because once they get you hooked, you’ll be back for more and willing to pay. When similar incentives are offered by Big Pharma for high-priced prescription drugs, the joke’s on patients and employers who pay for health coverage.

Mon, April 12, 21

Medicaid Monday: Care Coordination Creates Better Outcomes and Savings

Today’s Texas Medicaid is more than health care coverage—it connects Texans to the personalized care and support they need to stay healthy and live the fullest lives possible while creating efficiencies that benefit everyone.‍

Tue, April 6, 21

Medicaid Monday: Medicaid Managed Care Works

Over the past 20 years, Texas has transformed an outdated Medicaid system that provided fragmented care into a modern, patient-centered health insurance program providing more than 4 million Texans with the coverage and care they need.

Mon, April 5, 21

Medicaid Monday: Texas Medicaid MCOs Save Money on Prescription Drugs for Taxpayers

Texas taxpayers and patients. Drug costs had almost doubled from 2001 to 2011, and patients received fragmented care that didn’t produce the most efficient or effective results.

Thu, April 1, 21

Electronic Filing of Prior Authorization Benefits Patients and Providers

Every Texan deserves the best health care possible—that means ensuring their care is safe, effective, and clinically appropriate. Prior authorization (PA) is the most important tool health insurance providers have to get patients that care. It reduces inappropriate care by catching unsafe or low-value care and targeting care that is not consistent with the latest medical recommendations—both of which contribute to potential harm and unnecessary costs for patients.

Tue, March 30, 21

New Partnership with Texas Medicare Advantage Plans to Help “Save our Seniors”

The COVID-19 crisis poses unprecedented challenges to Texas and our nation, touching every facet of American life. In the face of these challenges, Texas health insurance providers, Medicaid managed care plans, and Medicare Advantage plans are taking decisive actions to help patients and curb the spread of the virus,

Mon, March 29, 21

Medicaid Monday: Texas Medicaid MCOs Increase Access to Care

Access to care is an essential part of any health care delivery system, and the Texas Medicaid program is no exception. Like private health insurance, Texas Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) establish a network of providers to connect Texans to the personalized care and support they need to stay healthy and live the fullest lives possible. As a result, Medicaid managed care allows Texans on Medicaid to access and choose from a variety of doctors and hospitals in their area.

Thu, March 25, 21

Press Release: TAHP Supports HB 2029 to Improve Health Care Access

AUSTIN – The Texas Association of Health Plans supports House Bill 2029, which was heard yesterday in the House Public Health Committee. The bill, by Chair Stephanie Klick, will remove unnecessary and outdated mandates that are preventing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) from providing more health care access and options to Texas Patients.

Wed, March 24, 21

HB 4 and SB 412 Provide Smart Telehealth Expansion

throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Texas health plans and Medicaid health plans have expanded access to care by encouraging and expanding telehealth services and waiving cost sharing, helping Texans receive the care they need from the safety of their homes. The crisis brought with it an explosion in the use of telehealth across Texas—regardless of patient age and type of health insurance. So far, telehealth appears to be fulfilling its promise as a significant part of the health care system.

Tue, March 16, 21

TAHP Opposes HB 907: Don’t Eliminate Protections of Prior Authorization

The Texas Association of Health Plans opposes House Bill 907, which creates a new, unfunded health insurance mandate that prohibits preauthorization requirements for all drugs prescribed to treat a chronic or autoimmune disease. This would eliminate most prior authorizations for prescription drugs. HB 907 is scheduled to be heard in the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday, March 16.

Mon, March 15, 21

TAHP Opposes Insulin Copay Cap Mandates: A Hidden Tax on Employers

insulin has been around for decades, but no generic alternatives exist. That is because the pharmaceutical companies that control the market make small tweaks to extend the patents—gaming the system, artificially inflating prices, and keeping generics off the market. Even though the original patent for insulin was bought for only $1 a hundred years ago and the average cost to produce insulin is only about $6 a vial, the average price of insulin has grown by more than $300 a vial in the last 20 years.

Thu, March 11, 21

The Power of Prior Authorization

There are opportunities for Texas lawmakers to help lower the cost of health insurance for Texas families and employers, but broadly eliminating prior authorizations is not one of them. Unfunded government mandates that eliminate prior authorizations undermine important patient protections and drive up the cost of health coverage for Texas employers.

Fri, February 26, 21

Containing Out-of-Control Costs – Suggestions from Bill Hammond

In a recent op-ed published by the Dallas Morning News, Bill Hammond, chief executive of Texas Employers for Insurance Reform, outlined one of the biggest problems faced by employers today: the rapidly increasing cost of health care.

Thu, February 4, 21

TAHP Files Complaint Against FSER Abuses

As Texas Legislators meet to consider changes to Texas law, many are understandably upset about the practices of free-standing emergency rooms (FSERs). News stories of $10,000 COVID tests from FSERs have populated the headlines for months, and many want to take action.

Thu, January 28, 21

TAHP Announces Medicaid Priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session

The COVID-19 crisis reminds us of the value of affordable health insurance coverage and the peace of mind it brings to Texans and their families. Medicaid managed care has played a key role in helping provide coverage during this economic and health care crisis. Texas Medicaid managed care plans cover medical expenses, coordinate complex medical care, and help Texans stay as healthy and active as possible—all while providing caring, compassionate one-on-one support. The focus on prevention, wellness, and care coordination—getting Texans the care they need to get healthy, stay healthy, and live in their communities—has translated into better care and lower costs. As a result, millions of Texans—including children and pregnant moms—have seen improved outcomes and Texas taxpayers have saved over $5 billion.

Thu, January 21, 21

Texas Health Insurance Providers and PBMs Fight Out-of-Control Drug Prices

While Big Pharma is posting record profits, too many hardworking Americans have to choose between paying their bills and accessing life-saving medicines. Today, more than 21.5 cents of every health care dollar still go to pay for prescription drug costs—more than any other health care expense. That’s why TAHP is prioritizing health insurance provider and PBM efforts to lower drug prices this legislative session.

Thu, January 14, 21

TAHP Joins THCA’s Call to Increase Affordable Access to Care

The COVID-19 crisis has underscored just how important it is for Texas to address our systemic health care provider shortage. Before COVID-19, over 7 million Texans were already experiencing shortages of primary care and over 15 million Texans were already experiencing a shortage of behavioral health care. During the 87th Session, the Texas Association of Health Plans will be advocating to increase affordable access to high-quality health care through more options, better quality, and lower costs.

Fri, December 4, 20

Press Release – TAHP Applauds New TDI Rule That Will Expand Access to Association Health Plans

AUSTIN—Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP) CEO Jamie Dudensing issued this statement following the Texas Department of Insurance’s adoption of a rule establishing a process for an employer group or association to sponsor an employee health benefit plan:

Thu, December 3, 20

A Telehealth Explosion in Texas

The COVID-19 crisis poses unprecedented challenges to Texas and our nation, touching every facet of American life. In the face of these challenges, Texas health insurance providers are committed to curbing the virus and helping Texans receive the care they need from the safety of their homes — including waiving out-of-pocket costs for telehealth and expanding telehealth programs.

Mon, November 16, 20

COVID-19 And the Growth of Telehealth in Texas

The COVID-19 crisis poses unprecedented challenges to Texas and our nation, touching every facet of American life. In the face of these challenges, Texas health insurance providers are committed to curbing the virus and helping Texans receive the care they need from the safety of their homes — including waiving out-of-pocket costs for telehealth and expanding telehealth programs.

Mon, November 16, 20

Putting Texas Patients First: Texas Health Plans Are Standing With You

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for Texans and our nation, touching every facet of American life. In face of these challenges, TAHP and our members are doing all we can to keep Texans safe while providing continued support to and reducing burdens on patients and health care workers alike. Listed below are some ways health plans are proactively working to care for Texans and help them get access to the services and resources they need to stay healthy during the pandemic.

Mon, November 16, 20

Connecting Texans: Texas Medicaid Managed Care Plans Support Texans During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for Texas and our nation, touching every facet of American life. During this crisis and into the future, Medicaid Managed Care Plans are connecting Texans to the personalized care and support they need to stay healthy and live their lives to the fullest. Learn more about how Texas Medicaid Managed Care Plans are responding to COVID-19.

Wed, November 11, 20

Texas Medicaid Serves Texas Veterans

oday on Veteran’s Day, we honor all those who served our country. We celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love for our country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. 

Thu, October 15, 20

1332 Waivers: A New Opportunity to Reduce Costs and Increase Access of Comprehensive Health Coverage

COVID-19 crisis remind us of the value of affordable health insurance coverage and the peace of mind it brings to Texans and their families. The COVID-19 crisis has also provided many examples of problems with health care costs that plague Texas, such as questionable billing practices and price gouging. The New York Times, ProPublica, Politico, and other media outlets repeatedly turn to Texas when reporting on the worst examples of these problems.

Sun, October 4, 20

100 Days Until the Texas Legislative Session

Today marks 100 days until the beginning of Texas’ 87th Legislative Session. Last year, we had great success advocating for and passing several pieces of legislation that protect Texans from the high costs of surprise billing, expensive drug prices, and price gouging at freestanding emergency rooms, but our fight for more affordable, comprehensive health care isn’t over.

Thu, October 1, 20

Texas Health Insurance Providers Encourage Flu Vaccines During the COVID-19 Crisis

The seasonal flu is a serious illness that results in half a million hospitalizations and 30,000-50,000 deaths every year. With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, this flu season is expected to be more severe than usual. Texas health insurance providers are covering the vaccine with no patient cost-sharing and encouraging everyone — particularly older Texans, communities of color, and others who are more vulnerable to the flu’s worst outcomes — to get their flu vaccine.

Fri, September 25, 20

Health Insurance Providers to Continue Payment Parity for Telehealth

The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to Texas and our nation, touching every facet of American life. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas health insurance providers have been fully committed to helping solve this crisis, including waiving out-of-pocket costs for telehealth and expanding telehealth programs, so that Texans can access the care they need from the safety of their own homes.

Tue, September 8, 20

Freestanding ER Doctor Resigns in Protest After $11,000 COVID Test Bill from His Own Employer

On Saturday, the national investigative journalism organization ProPublica published its second article in the past month highlighting how freestanding emergency rooms are price gouging Texas patients for COVID-19 tests. This time, Physicians Premier ER in Austin charged one of its own doctors nearly $11,0000 for a test.

Thu, September 3, 20

TAHP Speaks Against Price Gouging

Last month Chron.com reporter Alison Medley wrote an article about Laurie Delgatto-Whitten, a woman who received a $3,000 medical bill after visiting a drive-thru COVID-19 test site in Spring operated by United Memorial Medical Center.

Wed, August 19, 20

Texas Medicaid Managed Care Plans Bring out the Best of the Texas Medicaid Program

touching every facet of American life. During this crisis, Managed Care Plans are connecting Texans to the personalized care and support they need to stay safe and healthy and to live their lives to the fullest.

Tue, August 18, 20

Texas Health Plans Respond to COVID-19

touching every facet of American life. Texas health plans are heavily invested in the health of the Texas communities in which we live and serve, and we are doing all we can to keep Texans safe and support our provider partners. Learn more about how Texas health plans are taking action to help Texans get access to the prevention, testing, and treatment they need to stay healthy.

Mon, August 17, 20

Texas Health Plans Are Committed to Curbing the COVID-19 Virus

The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to Texas and our nation, touching every facet of American life. In the face of these challenges, Texas health plans are committed to curbing the virus and helping Texans receive the testing and care they need to stay healthy—including eliminating out-of-pocket costs for Texans by covering COVID treatment and testing at no cost and expanding access to telemedicine. The health and well-being of millions of Texans is our highest priority.

Fri, August 7, 20

TAHP Urges State Leaders to Address COVID Test Price Gouging

AHP sent a letter to state officials opposing the Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers’ (TAFEC) recent request for a waiver or rule change that would allow them to provide non-emergent care, including COVID-19 testing. Under their current licensure, freestanding emergency rooms (FSERs) may only provide medical care in emergency situations.

Mon, August 3, 20

ProPublica Investigates Freestanding ER Price Gouging in Texas

Over the weekend, national investigative journalism organization ProPublica published an article demonstrating how freestanding emergency rooms are price gouging Texas patients. In this case—as in hundreds of others around the state—a freestanding ER billed a Houston woman $2,500 for her son’s drive-thru COVID-19 test. The test itself was only $175, but the facility tacked on $2,300 in unnecessarily high facility and physician fees.

Thu, July 30, 20

TAHP Notes Test Price Gouging is a Dangerous New Trend

HOUSTON — Some consumers who thought they were getting a simple COVID-19 test instead got a surprise bill charging their insurance company thousands of dollars. The Texas Association of Health Plans called it a dangerous new trend from a small number of providers.

Wed, July 1, 20

Finding Health Coverage When You Lose Your Job: COBRA Is Not Your Only Option

The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the importance of health coverage when it comes to financially protecting Texas families from our state’s high health care costs. Texas already had the highest percent of uninsured residents  and some of the highest health care prices in the country—now, both of those problems have been exacerbated by the coronavirus.

Fri, October 18, 19

Episcopal Health Foundation, Health Plans, and MCOs Launch Effort to Address SDOH

AUSTIN—The Episcopal Health Foundation, Texas Association of Health Plans, and Texas Association of Community Health Plans jointly launched the Texas MCO Social Determinants of Health Learning Collaborative this week to develop and implement new ways to address social determinants of health (SDOH) in Texas.

Fri, September 13, 19

TAHP CEO Publishes New Op-Ed in Houston Chronicle

Surprise medical bills are a major problem nationally, and almost everyone agrees patients must be protected from receiving them. Surprise billing typically occurs in situations where patients receive care from a provider they did not specifically choose, such as when they are treated by an out-of-network ER doctor during an emergency. After treatment, the provider sends a bill to the patient’s insurer, which pays what it determines is appropriate based on market rates. Once the provider receives payment from the insurer, they may send a bill for the remaining balance to the patient. This final bill is called a surprise bill and can saddle patients with unexpected medical bills for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

Tue, June 4, 19

New Law Protects Texas Consumers from Having Credit Damaged by Surprise Medical Bills

AUSTIN – Consumer credit reporting agencies are now prohibited from including medical debt collection accounts in consumer reports thanks to Senate Bill 1037 by Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, which was signed Friday by Gov. Greg Abbott. The law takes effect immediately and represents a major step in protecting consumers from the long-lasting damage that can result from surprise billing in Texas, where patients are at an uncommonly high risk of receiving expensive surprise bills.

Fri, May 24, 19

Texas Legislature Passes Prescription Drug Price Transparency Bill

AUSTIN—The Texas Legislature acted today to keep prescription drug costs down by passing HB 2536 by Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, which requires drug pricing transparency by drug manufacturers, health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

Wed, March 21, 18

TribTalk: Medicaid Managed Care is Still the Right Choice for Texas

Too often, government programs make headlines due to inefficiencies and cost overruns. But what if the state could adopt a program with a decades-long track record of containing health care cost growth to rates four times lower than national averages, while improving clients’ quality of care? While that may sound too good to be true, Texas was one of the first states to embrace this initiative, known as Medicaid managed care.

Fri, March 2, 18

Valley Central: Insurance Company Works with McAllen School to Accommodate Student

Jordan is now a senior at McAllen High School, but has come across some challenges getting to class, as he is also a member of his school’s band.

Mon, February 12, 18

Dallas Morning News Special Report – State of Emergency: An Examination of Freestanding ERs in Texas

The facilities aim to add convenience by allowing patients to be seen faster than in full-service hospitals’ ERs — where overcrowding has been an issue — and by making emergency care more accessible in areas without a hospital nearby.

Wed, February 7, 18

CBS Denver: “Bill Would Clarify Costs of Visits to Free-standing ERs for Patients”

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Coloradans who need medical treatment often walk into free-standing emergency rooms thinking they are simply urgent care facilities or clinic and they don’t realize what the visit will cost them. When the bill arrives, they owe thousands of dollars.

Mon, December 4, 17

Interim Hearings on TAHP Priority Issues!

House Insurance has scheduled a hearing next week on Wednesday December 6th to hear all of its health care-related charges. These includes charges on stabilizing the health insurance market in Texas, balance billing, prescription drug coverage and PBM transparency. The posting can be found here.

Sat, December 2, 17

Houston Chronicle Special Investigation into ER Cost Crisis in Texas

It had happened so fast, a moment of play turned to blood and panic. Just before lunch 7-year-old Ava was on the floor with the family’s German shepherd. Pettit held out a pizza roll, but the dog lunged just as his daughter popped it in her mouth. Two holes opened in the little girl’s face where the dog’s teeth had been and she started to scream.

Thu, October 5, 17

Texas Health Plans Urge Congress to Act Swiftly to Reauthorize CHIP

The Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP), the statewide trade association representing commercial and public health plans operating in Texas, including all Medicaid managed care organizations that manage the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), today issued the following statement urging Congress to act immediately to reauthorize CHIP or risk 380,000 Texas children losing their health care coverage. As of Oct. 1, Congress allowed CHIP to expire by failing to reauthorize funding for the program by the Sept. 30 deadline. CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to roughly 9 million children across the country.  

Fri, September 15, 17

TX Health Plans Urge TX Congressional Delegation to Delay HIT

oday, the Texas Association of Health Plans, sent the below letter on behalf of all health plans operating in Texas, to U.S. Senators and Representatives of the Texas Congressional delegation urging them to act swiftly to delay the onerous Health Insurance Tax. A copy of the letter can also be found here.

Fri, September 8, 17

TX Tribune Includes TAHP Hurricane Resource Guide in Harvey Coverage

It’s been more than a week since Harvey ravaged the Texas Coast and left Houston — the nation’s fourth-largest city — grappling with unprecedented flooding. Do you need help? Or do you want to help those in need? Check out the resources below.

Thu, September 7, 17

Dallas Morning News Highlights TAHP Hurricane Resource Guide

Texans enrolled in Medicare that had medical supplies that were lost or damaged due to Hurricane Harvey will have access to an altered set of rules for a short time.

Wed, September 6, 17

Hurricane Resource Guide: Texas Health Plans Provide Relief Efforts to Impacted Texans

The Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP), the statewide trade association representing commercial and public health plans operating in Texas, today shared a growing list of its members’ efforts to assist Texans who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. TAHP members serve more than 17 million people in Texas, and more than 50,000 of their employees call Texas home. Health plans and related entities in Texas are responding to the storm, both in the form of donations to relief efforts and also in offering 24-hour hotlines, free consultations with telemedicine physicians, assistance with emergency prescription refills and medical equipment, and more. 

Wed, September 6, 17

Houston Chronicle Spotlights TX Health Plan Hurricane Relief Efforts

The Texas Department of Insurance is urging health insurers in Texas to loosen restrictions and show flexibility for people who have already sought or may need medical or mental health treatment in coming weeks.

Tue, July 25, 17

Healthplan Highlights from the 85th Legislature Released

The 85th Legislative Session has come to a close, and the Texas Association of Health Plans is pleased to report on a number of important achievements made possible through comprehensive communications, education, and advocacy strategy carried out in coordination and collaboration with each of our members.

Fri, May 19, 17

Pro-Consumer Legislation Requiring Greater Transparency from Free-standing ERs Headed to the Governor

The Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP), the statewide trade association representing commercial and public health plans operating in Texas, today applauded Senate passage of Rep. Tom Oliverson’s HB 3276, which requires independent freestanding emergency rooms in Texas, which are almost all out-of-network for insured Texans, to be more transparent and upfront with patients about their network status. HB 3276 now heads to the Governor for his signature.

Thu, February 23, 17

HHSC Releases 2017 Fact Book

HHSC has released the Fact Book for 2017, which provides overview of Medicaid programs and caseloads and the 11th Edition of Medicaid/CHIP in Perspective (aka The Pink Book). You can view the Pink Book here.

Thu, February 23, 17

Legislators File Bill Extending Sunset Date of State-Run Medicaid Formulary

HB 1917 (attached) was filed this week by Raymond, Zerwas, and Four Price. The bill extends the sunset date of the state run VDP Medicaid formulary to 2030. Current statute gives MCOs full control of the formulary in 2018. TAHP is strongly opposed to this bill and has begun making visits to share reasons for opposition. See our one-page legislative guide on the benefits and savings that will be achieved by transitioning the formulary to MCO management here.

Thu, February 23, 17

Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers Makes False Claims About Underpayments by Insura

The Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers (TAFEC) issued a press release this week claiming 3,400 requests for mediations in Texas are complaints and have resulted in $750,000 in payments to providers as a result of underpayment by insurance companies. Here is a link to the report requested by Rep. Workman from TDI. TAFEC failed to mention that these 3,400 mediation requests to challenge surprise bills from providers totaled more than $6 million in billing and the ultimate result is that consumers were protected against more than $5 million in over-billing by providers. It is also important to note that as it stands, consumer mediation protections do not apply to FSERs. TAHP pointed out these discrepancies to the Dallas Morning News this week; stay tuned for a piece running later this week.

Thu, February 23, 17

Trump Administration Releases Proposed Rule Addressing Market Stabilization Issues

his week HHS released a proposed rule that takes steps aimed at stabilizing the individual and small group health insurance markets. The proposed rule “would make changes to special enrollment periods, the annual open enrollment period, guaranteed availability, network adequacy rules, essential community providers, and actuarial value requirements; and announces upcoming changes to the qualified health plan certification timeline.” Read more from AHIP here.

Thu, February 23, 17

HAC Begins Meeting

.HAC started meeting this week with presentations by the Legislative Budget Board. On Wednesday the LBB provided an overview of Medicaid. Total Medicaid funding in the 2016-17 adjusted base is $26.3 billion GR and $64.6 billion in AF. This includes an estimated $1.2 billion in GR funds above the 2016-17 Budget to complete fiscal year 2017 expenditures, which includes revenue adjustments, transfers, and assumed supplemental funding. House Bill 1, as introduced includes $27.0 billion in GR funds and $65.5 billion AF for Medicaid in 2018-19, which is an increase of $0.7 billion in General Revenue-Related Funds and $1.0 billion AFs. The committee had many questions about Medicaid managed care, capitation rate setting and savings, and STAR Kids. TAHP staff immediately started meeting with offices to educate them on the value of managed care and will continue meetings over the next several weeks.  LBB Recommendations for HB 1 can be found here.

Thu, February 23, 17

TAHP, TAB, & Others Launch Coalition to Tell the Truth About Freestanding ERs

This week, TAHP, TAB, TALHI, TAHU, and TORCH launched a coalition to raise awareness about freestanding ERs, their exorbitant pricing and misleading advertising that are confusing consumers and contributing to a serious emergency care cost crisis in Texas. Texans For Affordable Healthcare (TAHC), a healthcare advocacy coalition, seeks to educate the Legislature and Texas consumers about the non-transparent, anti-consumer tactics frequently used by freestanding emergency rooms, as Texas is home to more than half the nation’s FSERs. TAHC will be reaching out to Texans who have experienced surprise bills and confusions at FSERs and are willing to share their stories with others and the Legislature. Our coalition is seeking the following solutions to better protect consumers: