BCBS of Massachusetts pressures providers to drop fee-for-service model; Insurers stop selling child policies;

> Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is pressuring hospitals and doctors to shrink healthcare costs. CEO Andrew Dreyfus has said that providers that cling to traditional fee-for-service contracts could face lower payments from his company, FierceHealthcare reports. In a letter sent to 400 leaders of hospitals and physician practices, Dreyfus urged moving to a global payment plan, which would put providers on an annual budget and give them incentives to cut costs and improve care. Article

> Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wants the authority to consider an insurer's surplus when reviewing rate hikes, which would be allowed under state Senate Bill 5247. He also has begun lobbying for House Bill 1301, which would give him the authority to consider a health carrier's surplus and investment income when reviewing a rate request. Another bill under review, HB 1220, would make Washington health insurance rate filings public, National Underwriter reports. Article

> Health insurers in 34 states have stopped selling child-only insurance policies as a result of the health reform law, and the market continues to destabilize, reports Politico. One of the largest insurance markets in the country, Texas, has seen all of their carriers drop child-only health insurance, as have other large states including Florida and Illinois. Article

> Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants taxpayers to purchase private health insurance policies for the poor, according to CNBC. The administration is moving ahead with its "coordinated care networks" and a planned statewide rollout beginning in 2012, covering 830,000 Medicaid recipients. Insurance companies would get paid a set amount, much like premiums paid for private insurance, and in return they would contract with groups of physicians, hospitals and specialists who would deliver care for enrollees. The providers would have to meet certain medical care standards. Article

> Health plans have quietly slashed broker commissions in an attempt to save money. Last year, brokers got 20 percent of the annual premium on new policies sold. As of Jan. 1, commissions went as low as 4 percent at Aetna, 9 percent at Anthem Blue Cross and 12 percent at Blue Shield of California. The changes stem from the new medical-loss ratio rules, reports the Sacramento Business Journal. Article

And Finally... A modern twist to the doctor's house call. Article