CMS issues risk-sharing, reinsurance rules; HHS issues contraception rule;

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued final rules, addressing risk management standards and reinsurance requirements for health plans that are meant to help ease the transition to health insurance exchanges, reported LifeHealthPro. Under the rules, insurers will sell individual policies on a guaranteed-issue, community-rated basis. The federal government also will establish a "risk corridors" program in which insurers will share in exchanges' losses and gains. States will create reinsurance programs, requiring insurers contribute to a fund that protects them against risk. Article

> Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield and MVP Health Care said their medical home pilot project has resulted in several positive health outcomes, including reducing cholesterol levels in by 75 percent of heart disease patients and 70 percent of diabetics, increasing rates of colorectal and breast cancer screenings to 75 percent, and decreasing blood pressure for 80 percent of patients with hypertension, according to the Rochester Business Journal. The two insurers have helped fund the medical home project by altering its physician reimbursement schedules to let participating doctors spend more time with patients and rewarding those doctors for improving communications. Article

> The Department of Health & Human Services released a proposed rule, addressing the birth control controversy that peaked about a month ago. In a notice issued Friday, HHS reiterated its contraception compromise that religiously affiliated employers don't have to pay for their employees' birth control if they object to providing the coverage on moral grounds, reported the Los Angeles Times. Instead, insurers will pick up the contraception costs. Article

> Under a new rule released by CMS, people shopping for coverage in health insurance exchanges will learn almost instantly if they qualify for Medicaid or premium subsidies, reported Kaiser Health News. The final rule requires exchanges and Medicaid agencies to use state and federal databases to help verify applicants' income levels and other information needed to establish eligibility. Article

> And Finally... Shake my hand so I can tell if you have dementia. Article