KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Out-Of-State Insurers Show No Interest In Georgia

Also, CalPERS finds wide variation in knee and hip replacement costs, and Allina Health offers grants for wellness programs in Minnesota.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: No Out-Of-State Insurers Offer Plans In Georgia
A new law that allows Georgians to buy health insurance plans approved by other states was envisioned as free-market solution that would lower prices and increase choices.  So far, the law has failed to produce results: Not a single insurer is offering a policy under the new law. "Nobody has even asked to be approved to sell across state lines," Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said. "We're dumbfounded. We are absolutely dumbfounded" (Teegardin, 4/30).

KQED's State of Health blog: Steps Toward Lower Cost, Higher Quality Health Care
In 2008 [the California Public Employees' Retirement System] conducted an analysis of its claims database and learned it was paying $55 million a year in knee and hip replacements. ... CalPERS asked Anthem Blue Cross — which manages its PPO plans — to examine the range of prices for these operations in California. Anthem came back with the startling information that CalPERS was paying $15,000 on the low end to $110,000 on the high end, a more than seven-fold difference from lowest to highest (Aliferis, 4/27).

Minnesota Public Radio: Allina Health Launches Healthy Neighborhoods Program
Allina Health said its new Neighborhood Health Connection program will allow community members to apply for grants to support activities like building a community garden or starting a yoga group. ... Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler, medical director of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health, said the program builds on research suggesting neighborhood health initiatives can work (Dunbar, 4/28). 

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