Healthcare Reform in 2011

Count on the National Council to keep us informed about Health Care Reform and how it might impact us as individuals or organizations. On January 6, 2011, The Council sent out their Public Policy Update giving a brief overview of the features of the law that will be implemented in 2011. Even as the new majority in the House of Representatives vows to repeal the law, very popular features go into effect.

Starting in January 2011:

  • States may now amend their Medicaid programs to provide Health Homes and chronic disease management, including behavioral health services;
  • Closing the ‘Donut Hole’: Drug companies will grant a 50% discount on brand-name drugs for Medicare recipients who reach the donut hole in 2011;
  • Free Medicare Preventive Benefits including annual wellness visits are available;
  • A 10% increase in Medicare payments for primary care providers will start;
  • Insurance companies must spend at least 80-85% of consumers’ premiums on paying for patient care rather than administrative costs or profits;
  • CMS will begin to reform itself to accomplish delivery system and payment reforms that will save money and improve the quality of care; and
  • Long-term care insurance for the purchase of home- and community-based services will become available. Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) is a voluntary insurance purchase program.

The National Council has established a Mental Healthcare Reform blog that focuses on Healthcare reform. There you can find discussion of all of the changes as they occur along with implications of those changes. Don’t miss out on information your organization may need. Subscribe to the blog today.

Of the items listed above, only the first is likely to affect some behavioral health care providers in any significant way. Please let us know if your state is experimenting with medical/health homes within their Medicaid plan. How do you expect that to affect mental health providers?

Please share your thoughts . . . especially those of you who are participating in one of these pilot projects.

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