When it Comes to Mortality and Health Insurance Rates, A Racial and Ethnic Divide Remains Prominent in Dallas County

In Dallas County, racial and ethnic disparities remain prominent in areas like maternal mortality and the ability to withstand chronic diseases, even as the disparities among those without health insurance have tightened in recent years. Those are a few takeaways from the Dallas Economic Opportunity Assessment, a new report commissioned by the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) and conducted by the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP). The groups convened Tuesday morning at CFT to go through the findings at an event featuring comments by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. The day revolved around… Full Story

New CMS Data Shows Dallas County Has the Seventh-most Enrollees for ACA Insurance

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid released final 2017 enrollment numbers relating to Affordable Care Act health insurance Tuesday, and the numbers confirm a report issued in February by an outside group. That report showed us that in Texas, Obamacare sign-ups dipped more than the national average last year. What’s interesting about CMS’ data is that you can download a set that splits it up by county. Doing that, we see that Dallas County has the seventh-highest number of consumers—106,923—who’ve selected a plan via the ACA exchange. About 36,000 of those are new consumers from the fall enrollment period, while… Full Story

Texas Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Ink Four-Year Contracts in Final Hour

Texas Health Resources and Blue Cross Blue Shied of Texas have come to terms on new four-year contracts to keep the Arlington-based system in-network for BCBSTX plan holders. With the deal set to expire at midnight on Sunday morning, the two sides signed within the final hour, a spokesperson for the insurer says. A short statement from BCBSTX says the agreement came together “through determined efforts from both sides.” “We were diligent in our negotiations, we used all the time we had available to us,” BCBSTX Market President Dr. Paul Hain added over the phone this morning. “We wish were… Full Story

Texas Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Find Themselves in Another Contract Dispute

A little more than a year after Texas Health Resources and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas ended a contract impasse in the final hour, the two sides again find themselves in a dispute. The current contract between the two parties runs through March 31. If they aren’t able to reach a new agreement by then, Texas Health care sites will be out of network for BCBSTX plan holders. The BCBSTX side of the equation says negotiations are hung up on what they classify as $1 billion in increased payments over the life of a four-year contract, as well as… Full Story

Yep, Dallas’ Medicare Acceptance Rate Really Is Low Compared to Other Markets

Thanks to the alert D CEO Healthcare readers at Dallas-based Merritt Hawkins, we have some additional context to our post yesterday looking at the number of physicians who’ve opted out of Medicare here in Dallas. Slicing into CMS data, we saw that Texas docs have submitted 169 opt-out affidavits, bested in the state of Texas only by Houston. Merritt Hawkins helps us put those two cities within a national context. Among the 15 major markets they surveyed last year, Houston and Dallas are dead last and second-to-dead last, respectively. As you’ll see in the chart, Dallas’ Medicare acceptance rate sits… Full Story

Let’s See How Many Dallas Doctors Have Opted Out of Medicare

After 7,400 physicians submitted paperwork to opt-out of medicare in 2016, the number cut in half last year, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The entirely reasonable explanation cited in this Modern Healthcare piece attributes the decrease to the end of a stipulation that required providers to renew their opt-outs every two years. The renewal requirement went away—you guessed it—two years ago, hence the drop now. But whether the trend is more about paperwork than anything else, the news did get me thinking about how many doctors in Dallas choose to opt-out of Medicare. So,… Full Story

Report: Obamacare Sign-Ups in Texas Dipped More Than the National Average Last Year

After President Donald Trump used an executive order to peel back pieces of Obamacare in October, some of the ensuing discussion circulated around what the actions could mean for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act marketplace. We got a look at a report compiling the year-end totals on Wednesday, and overall, it appears that the changes didn’t impact the 2017 enrollment period in the drastic way that many opponents of Trump’s order feared. Here in Texas, though, we saw some of the most significant drops of any state. Sign-ups through the federal exchange fell 8.2 percent here last year, down… Full Story

Health Plan Alliance Names New President as Founder Set to Retire

The Health Plan Alliance has a new leader as founder and president Cathy Eddy plans to retire this spring, the organization said Monday. Joe Lastinger becomes Alliance’s new president, effective today. He was named to the role after a nationwide search, Health Plan Alliance said. Eddy will officially retire at the end of April. Based in Irving, Health Plan Alliance is a membership organization for provider-sponsored and independent health plans. Lastinger is a Dallas native who was previously system vice president of strategy and market development for Baylor Scott & White Health. Before that, he was CEO at the North… Full Story

THR, Aetna, and Texas Health Aetna Leaders Gather to Discuss Their New Joint Venture

Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan; Gary Loveman, Aetna’s vice president of consumer health and services; and newly appointed Texas Health Aetna CEO Jeff Cook sat together in a Hyatt Regency conference room Friday morning to discuss Texas Health Aetna, a new joint venture between the health system and the insurance provider. Full Story