Arkansas Healthcare

Local & Regional News
1:00 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Five Insurance Plans To Be Offered In 2015 Arkansas Marketplace

The Arkansas Insurance Department says five insurance companies have signed up to offer policies through the state's federally arranged marketplace during 2015.

The companies are Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Celtic Insurance Co., National Blue Cross Blue Shield Multi-State, QCH Health Plan Inc. and QualChoice Life and Health Insurance Co. Inc.

The Insurance Department said Wednesday that each plan must still be reviewed to determine whether they adequately meet the needs of would-be policy holders.

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Local & Regional News
9:04 am
Fri June 27, 2014

CHI St. Vincent Announces Layoffs In Arkansas

CHI St. Vincent says it will cut 157 positions system-wide after its acquisition of a hospital and clinic in Hot Springs.

The company announced Thursday that the job reductions include 91 layoffs, with the remainder of cuts occurring by leaving vacant jobs unfilled. The company acquired the 282-bed Mercy Hospital in Hot Springs in April.

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Local & Regional News
8:56 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Arkansas Lawmakers Eye Teacher Insurance Fixes

Arkansas House and Senate leaders are counting votes for two bills aimed at addressing looming insurance increases for public school employees as they see whether there's enough support for a special session on the issue.

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Local & Regional News
11:49 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Governor Hopefuls Discuss Future Of Arkansas's Private Option

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross is vowing to protect the state's compromise Medicaid expansion, while Republican rival Asa Hutchinson says data should drive the debate on the program next year.

The two ex-congressmen addressed the future of the "private option" Medicaid plan in separate speeches to the Delta Grassroots Caucus on Friday. Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

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Local & Regional News
7:36 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Gov. Beebe Optimistic For Renewal Of Private Option In 2015

Governor Mike Beebe speaking Thursday evening to the Delta Grassroots Caucus in Little Rock.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Despite this week’s election defeat of a key supporter of Arkansas’s private option, the governor and a top legislative leader are hopeful the program will be renewed next year.

Speaking to the Delta Grassroots Caucus Thursday night, Gov. Mike Beebe said he believes arguments for the plan and the consequences of not taking federal money for the Medicaid expansion will sway lawmakers.

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Local & Regional News
9:07 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Orthodontist Challenges Arkansas Law On Services

A Jonesboro orthodontist is suing the Arkansas Dental Examiners Board over a claim that barring him from offering stand-alone basic services like cleanings and X-rays is unconstitutional.

Lawyers for Dr. Benjamin Burris on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit in Little Rock that names the dental board and its members.

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Local & Regional News
5:10 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Lawmakers Want Another Cost Estimate Of Private Option

Arkansas Sen. Bryan King (left) and Rep. Joe Farrer speak at a press conference Thursday.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A group of Arkansas legislators who have opposed the private option say they’ll ask a legislative committee next month to authorize another analysis of the financial impact of the program.

Republican state Sen. Bryan King of Green Forest says he’s concerned that the program, which uses federal Medicaid money to buy private insurance for low income Arkansans, is on track to cost the state significantly more than had been projected.

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Local & Regional News
5:37 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Arkansas Medicaid Director Andy Allison To Leave Post

File photo of DHS Director John Selig (left) and Medicaid Director Andy Allison at a meeting in March 2013.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The director of Arkansas' Medicaid office who led implementation of the private option is leaving his position.

Andy Allison has been state Medicaid director since 2011. The Department of Human Services announced Friday that Allison would leave, as of June 1 to pursue other opportunities.

Allison has led the Medicaid program through adoption of the private option health insurance program, which the Legislature created to accommodate President Barack Obama's Medicaid expansion plan.

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Local & Regional News
9:38 am
Fri May 2, 2014

43,446 In Arkansas Enrolled In New Health Plans

More than 43,000 Arkansans have picked health plans on the new insurance markets created by the federal health overhaul.

The federal government said Thursday that 43,446 Arkansas residents signed up between Oct. 1, 2013 and March 31.

Previous enrollment figures found that more than 33,500 residents had already picked out a plan through the exchange, an online marketplace where consumers can compare and shop for policies.

State officials had anticipated 250,000 residents to have signed up.

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2:06 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Arkansas Surgeon General: More Transparency Means Better Healthcare

This week’s nationwide release of data on doctors’ Medicare billing fees has many cheering the cause of making the costs associated with healthcare more transparent. The release also heralds a future of greater transparency as to how healthcare is delivered and assessed, according to Arkansas Surgeon General Joe Thompson.

In Arkansas, numbers show oncologists, ophthalmologists and ambulance services tend to receive the most in Medicare payments. Thompson said he welcomes the greater transparency in healthcare costs but warns that the numbers could be taken out of context.

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