FHIcommunications logo Inform | Connect | Engage 
June 7, 2018
Volume IX |  Issue 23       
Obamacare Premiums Set to Soar in '19 
Tami Luhby | CNN

Brace yourselves -- it looks like Obamacare premiums could jump by double digits again next year. Insurers in several states have requested large rate hikes for 2019, with many pointing to steps taken by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress as the main reasons why. New York insurers want to hike rates by 24%, on average, while carriers in Washington are looking for a 19% average premium increase. In Maryland, CareFirst is asking for an average 18.5% rate bump for its HMO plans and a 91% spike for its PPO policies (which have far fewer enrollees), while Kaiser Permanente wants to boost premiums by more than 37%, on average.

Medicare Fund Depletion Accelerates: Time for Reform?
Mike Stankiewicz | Fierce Healthcare

Medicare's trust fund is running out of money sooner than previously thought, likely renewing calls to reform the 52-year-old program. In its annual report (PDF), the Medicare Board of Trustees said the inpatient trust fund would be depleted by 2026, three years earlier than projected last year. Medicare advocacy groups and Democrats are pointing to recent Republican policies, specifically last year's tax cuts, as the main reason behind the faster depletion, as the government is taking in less revenue.
The quandary of cost transparency
Ted Matthews, MBA | KevinMD
Why can I get a comprehensive estimate for something like a car repair, but not a hip transplant?
While a cost range or estimate can be provided regarding what the physician will bill for a specific service, we can - at best - make an educated guess about other surgery costs (hospital bill? anesthesiologist's bill?) and follow-up costs (physical therapy? prescription drugs?). People, unlike cars, are not identical "under the hood," and treatment does not work consistently between people or even at different times for the same person. An expected procedure may need to be changed and additional testing or procedures may be necessary.
This can be a good time to discuss value transparency. Because, like so many things in life, what can look like a "good deal" at the start can end up costing a patient more later on.
$53 Million Deal Points To Lucrative Marijuana Market 
News Service of Florida via Health News Florida
A California-based company has bought a Florida medical marijuana operation for $53 million in the latest transaction in what investors hope will be among the nation's most-lucrative medical pot markets. Under the agreement, the company MedMen will acquire Treadwell Nursery's five-acre cultivation facility, located in Eustis, and the right to operate 25 dispensaries throughout the state, the maximum currently allowed under Florida law. Treadwell, which operates as " Remeny Wellness" and is one of the state's 13 licensed medical-marijuana firms, hasn't begun selling products but has been authorized by the state to begin cultivation.