A judge dismissed Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s lawsuit seeking $140 million in unpaid risk corridor claims from 2014, citing the program hasn’t ended and the federal government might still pay up. Insurers have filed around two dozen cases seeking a total of more than $8 billion in unpaid risk corridor funds for 2014 and 2015. In February, a judge ordered the federal government to pay $214 million to Moda Health. Land of Lincoln Health’s case was dismissed last year. An appellate court will likely have to make the final decision whether the claims have merit.
HHS will provide states $485 million to fund prevention and treatment programs aimed at confronting the opioid epidemic. HHS Secretary Tom Price made the announcement at a drug prevention summit in Atlanta last week. He called the epidemic a “crisis.” The funding was contained in bipartisan legislation passed by Congress last year and signed by former President Barack Obama. Price said another half-billion dollars in state grants will follow next year. He said states “know best what their communities need” and “have already been at the forefront of supporting prevention, treatment and recovery.”
Organizers of the Health Datapalooza late last week announced that HHS Secretary Tom Price will be the keynote speaker at the annual conference of health data enthusiasts. Other HHS-related speakers include former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and former CMS Administrator Dr. Mark McClellan. At the conference this week, attendees will hear about the democratization of healthcare through social media, cost transparency, and mhealth applications, among other strategies to drive patient engagement, make healthcare more transparent and, above all, harness the power of data to create better and less expensive healthcare. These strategies are especially important as high-deductible health plans become more common and patients are asked to shoulder more of the burden of healthcare costs.