Cleaning Out the In Box 2: MD's healthcare reform SUCCESS, AR's uninsured rate down 45%, DC exchange intros mobile App

2019 OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS (most states)

Time: D H M S

I've been too busy with my day job (I do have one, you know...) to post much lately, but plenty of ACA-related news has piled up, so I'm clearing off my desk with some quick bits:

MARYLAND: An Amazing Healthcare Revolution Is Happening In Maryland — And Almost No One's Talking About It

The Maryland ACA exchange has been one of the "middle-tier" models in my view; not an utter disaster like the ones in Oregon or Massachusetts, but still riddled with technical problems like the ones in Minnesota & Vermont. However, the state has apparently had a different healthcare-related initiative which has been a huge success so far:

Through innovative methods and a data-centric approach, Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, has become the cornerstone in Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's ambitious makeover of the state's healthcare programs.

...Jo Wilson, the vice president of operations at the hospital, said last week that there had been a 21% year-over-year reduction in admissions, helping to contribute to an overall 11.5% decrease in preventable hospitalizations per 100,000 Marylanders between 2011 and 2013. That decrease exceeds O'Malley's goal of a 10% reduction by the end of next year.

At the same time, since November, the hospital has saved $3.5 million in costs. A new clinical center has saved patients approximately $1.4 million.

All those numbers are a key part of the legacy O'Malley, who is seriously considering a run for president in 2016, wants to leave behind as Maryland's governor. O'Malley discussed his healthcare program in an interview with Business Insider last week when he traveled to Cumberland to highlight the hospital's success. 

ARKANSAS: Beebe, Other Southern Governors Tout Benefits of Medicaid Expansion

This is great news for both Arkansas and Kentucky. However, it's also a lesson in the importance of language when discussing "percentages":

Arkansas and Kentucky had the highest drop in the number of uninsured residents in a Gallup poll released earlier this month. Arkansas saw a drop of about 10 percentage points in its share of uninsured residents, from 22.5 percent in 2013, to 12.4 percent by the middle of this year. Kentucky experienced a drop of nearly 9 percentage points in its share of uninsured residents, from 20.4 percent in 2013, to 11.9 percent.

I've already seen one article which referred to the Arkansas numbers as being a "10% drop" in the uninsured. That's obviously quite different from a 10 percent POINT drop (actually 10.1 percent points), which is what actually happened. A "10% drop" would mean going from 22.5% to 20.3%. Going from 22.5% to 12.4% is actually a 45% drop in the uninsured rate thanks to the ACA already, which is rather astonishing.

UPDATE: For heaven's sake, I forgot about the very next sentence, which notes that the uninsured rate in KENTUCKY has also plummetted by 42%!

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: D.C. Health Link’s latest update? New app for small business

The DC exchange, which already had their own mobile app for individual enrollments, has added a second one for small businesses. I only know of one other state exchange (Connecticut) which has launched their own smartphone app:

D.C. Health Link launched its free Small Biz Health Insurance Mobile App this week for both Apple and Android devices, officials said. The app became available for download in the iTunes and Google Play app stores.

While it’s still doesn’t allow folks to sign up directly for coverage from the app — it seems developers’ serious concerns about security will prevent that capability indefinitely — the app does allow some other new features for sign-up.