SENATORS REQUEST STAKEHOLDER INPUT ON TRANSPARENCY: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent a joint letter to provider stakeholders last week, requesting feedback on enhancing the availability of health care data. The Senators said in their letter that while great strides have been made by federal and state entities to increase transparency and utilize health data more efficiently, that more still can be done to reach its full potential. Health providers, including physicians, are encouraged to provide comments, as the two Senators would like physicians to play a greater role in the process. Comments are due on August 12, 2014. For more information, please click here. 

LOUISIANA PASSES LAW TO CLOSE ACA GRACE PERIOD LOOPHOLE: Louisiana became one of the first states to pass a bill into law last month that requires insurance companies to address the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “grace period” loophole. The bill, HB 506, requires that “if the qualified health plan issuer informs the physician or other health care provider or his representative that the enrollee is eligible for services but not that the enrollee is in the grace period, the determination shall be binding on the qualified health plan issuer, and it shall pay the claims for covered services.” Currently, qualifying health plans in an exchange must offer a three-month grace period to enrollees who receive advance payments for premium tax credit. If an enrollee receives services from a provider, but fails to make a payment for the second or third month during that period, insurance companies are not required to notify providers of a missed payment, leaving providers to incur the cost of services provided.