The day before the federal government unveils virtual marketplaces where people can buy health insurance, a Davidson County chancellor denied a temporary restraining order on state rules limiting who can advise insurance shoppers.
Chancellor Russell T. Perkins said he has “serious questions to the merits” of the emergency rules OK’d by the state Sept. 18, but he said he is unconvinced the rules dictating who is a recognized health insurance exchange “navigator” would do irreparable harm.
“If somebody’s rights end up getting chilled because of this, that’s not the intent of this order at all,” he said of his decision at the hearing Monday.
The case, filed by the League of Women Voters and a handful of others by the Tennessee Justice Center, argued the rules are "extremely broad" and violate free speech by requiring anyone advising or helping others make decisions on health insurance plans be registered and submit to background checks. Violation of the rule means a $1,000 fine.
The state argued the rules are in place to protect against “bad actors” who would engage in fraudulent activity, particularly as the federal government rolls out the new offering.
“We both want what’s best for the consumers of this state,” said Bill Young, a state solicitor general. "We want them to get the information they’re entitled to, but at the same time, we want to make sure that no one takes advantage of that situation.”
Chancellor Perkins said he could be convinced down the road to support a temporary injunction of the emergency rules, but said he would let them go forward for now.
“Everybody gets to fight another day,” he said.
The two parties are due back in court Oct. 9.
Gov. Bill Haslam — who stood by the emergency rules when speaking to reporters Monday morning — said the insurance industry is concerned whether there are enough regulations in place as is, and suggested the Legislature could take up bills next year to address that.
"The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land right now, and whether I agree with it or not doesn't matter," Haslam said. "Certainly if it's in place, we want it to work well."
A health care membership program designed to lower the cost of employee health care is launching a chapter in Nashville.
WhiteGlove Health announced today it is launching its "founders circle" here, allowing companies to join its corporate membership program which offers "Mobile Primary Care (which now includes phone consultations) and Mobile Chronic Care Membership Services that are designed to lower and cap the employers cost for primary care and certain chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and low functioning thyroid."
Read more in the announcement, here.
While much of the market is struggling, health care plan stocks continue to perform well. Seeking Alpha reports that 12 of the 17 industry stocks are trading higher and may continue to rise.
In comparison to the S&P's one year price performance of 16.9% these 12 stocks have remained strong with an average annual return of 59.14% and an average of nine analyst buy recommendations per stock. As the DOW, NASDAQ and S&P markets continue to slip I have to wonder, how long will these stocks continue to defy the markets?
Franklin wellness and disease management firm Healthways has a deal to provide its SilverSneakers Fitness Program to WPS Health Insurance in Wisconsin. More than 38,000 of the nonprofit health insurer's residents will have access to the program through the deal.
Franklin-based Healthways has expanded its contract to provide its SilverSneakers Fitness Program to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina's members, adding Medicare Suppplement members beginning June 1. The deal brings the total number of the health plan's eligible SilverSneakers members to 180,000.
Last week a delegation of nearly 100 Leadership Health Care members visited Washington, D.C., to meet with policymakers about all things health care. The two hottest topics were, of course, accountable care organizations and health care IT, according to LHC Director Judith Byrd. But the various speakers and panelists touched on an array of issues around implementing the health care reform legislation how it will shape the nation's health care delivery system.
One of the most valuable aspects of the trip was the fact that, because the same group of people attended every session together, the conversation among them was able to build throughout the two-day trip, said Michele Peden of Iasis Healthcare.
"It continued the conversation and led to deeper learning," she said.
Jim Lackey, who serves as the liasion between the boards of LHC and the Nashville Health Care Council, said it's enlightening to see the "inner workings" of Washington and how difficult it is to get thigns done.
"They are all good people who are really trying," Lackey said of the Tennessee delegation, which met with LHC members as part of the trip. He added: "You also realize that although Nashville thinks it runs the business of healthcare, the folks on the hill have a ton of control."
A handful of Nashville investors have invested several million dollars in Advent Health Partners, a young Chicago insurance claims and recovery firm that they plan to relocate to Nashville. The Tennessean has the story about the deal this morning. Local investors include Fred Goad, Jim Kever, Joel C. Gordon, Rock Morphis, David McLellan, David Swenson and Jim Sohr.