NCQA releases health plan rankings; Michigan imposes tax on health claims;

> Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is violating the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by not obtaining patient permission to send their information to a third party for review, Mid Dakota Clinic of Bismarck has alleged, reports InForum. Article

> Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HMO/POS) is the best health plan in the country--for the eighth year in a row--according to rankings released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Rounding out the top five health plans are Tufts Associated Health Maintenance Organization (HMO/POS), Capital Health Plan (HMO), Tufts Health Plan (PPO), and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England (HMO/POS).

> Insurers in Michigan will see a 1 percent tax imposed on paid healthcare claims starting Jan. 1, 2012. Intended to help fund Michigan's Medicaid program, the tax will be paid quarterly starting April 30, 2012, reports Business Insurance. Article

> A new White House proposal would garner $20 billion in savings over 10 years from cuts to military healthcare benefits, FierceGovernment reports. The proposal includes an annual $200 fee beginning in 2013 for Tricare for Life enrollees and would later increase to align with the president's fiscal 2012 budget request. Pharmacy benefit co-payments for individuals would also increase, allowing Tricare to charge co-pays of $5 for generic, $12 for brand name, and $25 for brand name prescription drugs not on a preferred list. Article

And Finally... Keep up the chatter if you want to stay slim. Article