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America's Health Insurance Plans to address the impact of federal and state policies, market issues

The payer organization will hold two conferences back-to-back in Washington, D.C. during March.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

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There is no shortage of topics for this year's annual National Health Policy Conference and the National Conference on the Individual and Small Group Markets, starting with today's proposed rule from the Trump Administration to allow insurers to offer consumers a short-term alternative to Affordable Care Act coverage.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, will address two of the most troubling trends in healthcare, the opioid crisis and the high price of prescription drugs, during America's Health Insurance Plans' National Health Policy Conference being held on Wednesday, March 7 at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C.

[Also: Humana splits from AHIP, third large insurer in three years to leave]

Rosenstein oversees a lot of the work to combat the opioid crisis and works with health plans and providers to help turn the corner to resolve some of the troubling trends, according to David Merritt, executive vice president of Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives.

Gottlieb will discuss increasing competition to bring down drug prices.

[Also: AHIP to support MACRA, APMs and clinician virtual groups as qualifying for MIPS payments]

"This conference tries to bring clarity out of confusion, from the opioid crisis to rising drug costs to even single payer," Merritt said.  

AHIP's National Conference on Individual and Small Group Markets will follow on March 8 and 9 at the same location.

"We have a whole separate program looking at the individual market, how to increase choice ... those problems haven't gone away," Merritt said. "One thing we're excited about is talking about the markets that are working."

These include the employer and Medicare Advantage markets. 

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California and a former deputy director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation under the Obama Administration, kicks things off that Thursday by preparing insurance executives for what to expect in 2019.

Kevin Counihan, senior vice president of Products for Centene Corporation, closes with strategies for success.

In between will be such discussions as the federal and state impacts in the individual and small group markets, as presented by Elizabeth Carpenter, senior vice president of Avalere.

Not scheduled for discussion but likely to come up is the Trump Administration's proposed rule released today to allow insurers to offer consumers short-term health plans for up to a year. The plans would not be subject to ACA regulations.

"One rule coming out this morning on short-term plans, we're reviewing the proposed rule, we remain concerned short-term policies could fragment the market and lead to higher premiums, especially for those with preexisting conditions," Merritt said.

Another issue is the healthcare collaboration between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase as a way to bring down the cost of healthcare. 

"Health insurers are looking at solving the same issues," Merritt said. "We've had a cost crisis in healthcare for many years, so it will take working together. If they can bring the level of disruption and efficiency to other markets and deliver the benefits, we think it would be a wonderful."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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