HHS panel rules Medicare Advantage plan must pay for sex-reassignment surgery; Aetna, Boston Children's resolve rate dispute

> Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, plans to meet today with federal officials to hash out the future of the state's Medicaid expansion program, which has made major gains in reducing the uninsured, but will be in jeopardy when the state's "private option" waiver expires at the end of the year, Kaiser Health News reports. Article

> The Department of Health and Human Services' Medicare Appeals Council has upheld a judge's ruling that a UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan must cover sex reassignment surgery for a transgender woman from Texas, Reuters reports. The woman's lawyer says it is the first time HHS has made such a decision regarding a Medicare Advantage plan. Article

> Aetna and Boston Children's Hospital, which had planned to end their contract this month, have resolved their disagreement over reimbursement rates, the Boston Globe reports. Article

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> Health payers are intensifying investigations into addiction treatment services with more comprehensive records requests, according to one healthcare attorney. Article

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> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week published a final rule clarifying requirements behind face-to-face encounters for Medicaid beneficiaries to be eligible to receive home health services; the rule outlines that telehealth can be used for such encounters. Article

And finally… Here's to a hoppy ending. Article

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