Medical Council Of Thailand Plans To Amend Rule Requiring Teens To Provide Parental Consent Before Receiving HIV Test

January 17, 2009

Delegates at the Medical Council of Thailand hearing last week unanimously agreed to amend a regulation that requires parental permission for people younger than age 18 to be tested for HIV, the Bangkok Postreports (Apiradee, Bangkok Post, 12/18). Efforts to revise the rule were prompted by an increased number of HIV cases among young people, Samphan Komrit, deputy secretary general of the council, said.

Under current regulations, parental consent is required for medical care, including HIV testing, that is provided at public hospitals for people younger than age 18 (Pongphon, Nation, 12/17). Parental consent is not required for HIV tests administered to teenagers at private clinics; however, the Post reports that there is an insufficient number of such clinics (Bangkok Post, 12/18). In addition, many teens are reluctant to ask their parents’ permission to be tested for the virus, according to Kittipan Kanjina, director of the Thai Youth Network on HIV/AIDS.
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Efforts To Reduce Payments To Medicare Advantage Plans Expected From Obama Administration, Congress

January 11, 2009

The incoming Obama administration and Democratic-led Congress likely will cut payments to private Medicare Advantage plans in 2009, an aide to Senate Democrats said Monday during a briefing sponsored by the journal Health Affairs, CQ HealthBeat reports (Weyl, CQ HealthBeat, 11/24). According to The Hill, a “longstanding ideological battle between liberals and conservatives over the propriety of turning over a growing portion of the Medicare entitlement to private companies is meeting head-on with the need for Congress to make cuts to certain programs in order to finance other priorities.”
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AARP Hires Outside Investigator To Examine Sales Of Limited-Coverage Plans

January 10, 2009

AARP has hired an outside investigator to look into sales of its limited-benefit health insurance plans after a Senate inquiry found evidence of deceptive marketing, the New York Times reports (Pear, New York Times, 11/19). AARP last week said it would suspend marketing and sales of the plans after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the plans are misleading and do not work in typical situations. The plans, offered by UnitedHealth Group through AARP and aimed at people ages 50 to 64, have about one million members. The plans cap the amount that UnitedHealth pays for medical services but do not provide catastrophic coverage for members (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 11/3).
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President-Elect Barack Obama, Congressional Democrats Frame Health Care, Other Proposals As Job-Creation Plans

January 10, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have begun to frame their proposals for health care and other issues as “job-creation measures” in response to the current economic downturn, the Washington Postreports. According to the Post, the “thinking is that universal coverage will lower health care costs and make companies more willing to hire, as well as create new health care jobs.” House Labor and Education Committee Chair George Miller (D-Calif.) said, “People are starting to see that the loss of jobs is starting to cascade,” adding, “Health care becomes about jobs as much as it is about the economy” (MacGillis, Washington Post, 11/16).
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William Russell Introduces Moratorium Underwriting On All Its Individual Expatriate Health Insurance Plans

January 2, 2009

International expatriate insurance specialist William Russell has swept away the need for expatriates to declare their previous medical history with the introduction of moratorium underwriting on all of its health insurance plans. Many pre-existing medical conditions will become eligible for cover after two years of continuous cover.

James Cooper, sales director, William Russell says:

“Expatriates have told us that the biggest hassle of taking out private medical insurance is the need to remember and record every single health condition and medical consultation on the application form. We’ve dealt with this problem by completely removing the need for expats to declare their previous medical history, making the application process simple, straightforward and above all fast.”
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Study Finds Public Health Programs Require Less Per-Person Spending Than Private Plans

December 30, 2008

“Public and Private Insurance: Stacking Up the Costs,” Health Affairs: The Web exclusive study — by Leighton Ku, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and Matthew Broaddus, a research analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities — finds that providing health coverage to low-income people through public programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP, rather than through private health plans, results in lower per-person medical spending and out-of-pocket expenses. For example, the study finds that total spending to provide full-year Medicaid coverage for an average low-income uninsured adult would have been $3,084 in 2005, compared with $3,899 for private coverage. Annual out-of-pocket expenses for a Medicaid beneficiary would have totaled $109, compared with $771 for those enrolled in private plans, according to the study (Ku/Broaddus, Health Affairs release, 6/24).
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President-Elect Barack Obama, Congressional Democrats Frame Health Care, Other Proposals As Job-Creation Plans

December 27, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have begun to frame their proposals for health care and other issues as “job-creation measures” in response to the current economic downturn, the Washington Postreports. According to the Post, the “thinking is that universal coverage will lower health care costs and make companies more willing to hire, as well as create new health care jobs.” House Labor and Education Committee Chair George Miller (D-Calif.) said, “People are starting to see that the loss of jobs is starting to cascade,” adding, “Health care becomes about jobs as much as it is about the economy” (MacGillis, Washington Post, 11/16).
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