HHS: Healthcare law saved consumers $1.2B in 2012 | MassDevice.com On Call

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MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The healthcare reform law kept about $1.2 billion in health insurance premiums in the pockets of American consumers last year, according to the U.S. Health & Human Services Dept.

The Affordable Care Act’s "rate review" provision kept premiums lower for some 6.8 million consumers, according to the HHS report. Rate review mandates that insurers justify any rate increase of 10% or more.

"Thanks to the health care law, we are seeing that holding insurance companies accountable is leading to increased competition and saving billions of dollars for consumers across the country," HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in prepared remarks. "This type of competition and transparency will continue in the health insurance marketplace, or exchanges, where Americans will be able to shop for and compare plans side-by-side to find the one that fits their needs and budget."

Another ACA provision, the so-called "80/20 rule" requiring insurers to spend at least 80% of premiums on healthcare, prompted rebates worth $500 million to nearly 8.5 million Americans, according to the health department.

"Thanks to the 80/20 rule, last year 77.8 million consumers saved an estimated $3.4 billion up front on their premiums as insurance companies operated more efficiently," according to HHS.

 Minnesota claims lowest health insurance rates

Speaking of health insurance premiums, officials in Minnesota say the state’s insurance exchange will offer the nation’s lowest premiums when it goes on line next month, with policies for sale as low as $90 a month.

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 PET predicts outcomes for patients with cervical spinal cord compression
Positron emission tomography could act as a marker for a potentially reversible stage of degenerative cervical myelopathy, according to research published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
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 Killing germs with the sun
New solar technology that turns water into steam can be used to sanitize medical and dental instruments, and even human waste, without electricity or fuel, according to a presentation this week at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis.
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MRI exams immediately before or after surgery for breast cancer was not associated with reduced local recurrence or contralateral breast cancer rates, according to a study of
2,321 women who had had breast-conserving surgery between 1997 and 2010.
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