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Kaiser Health News

Health insurance premiums have been rising on the Obamacare exchanges, and North Carolina had some of the country's biggest increases this year. But according to a recent federal report, those increases made very little difference in what consumers actually pay.

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Kaiser Health News

After James Happli of Mosinee, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he was referred to a surgeon at a local hospital where he had been treated for lymphoma 28 years earlier. The surgeon told Happli and his wife that although she had never successfully performed a Whipple procedure — the pancreatic cancer operation widely regarded as among the most difficult in surgery — she believed she could do it with the help of a second surgeon.

Michael Tomsic

It’s been almost two years since the uproar over extreme waits at the VA led the head of that department to resign. Congress responded to the scandal by passing the Veterans Choice program. It allows veterans to go to private doctors on the VA’s tab if the VA keeps them waiting more than a month.

In North Carolina and nationwide, that solution is not working.

A surging demand for veterans’ health care is leading the VA to open a massive outpatient facility in Charlotte. The six-story complex opens Friday and offers primary care, mental health, pharmacy and some specialty care. It’s part of the VA’s push to modernize its services and decrease wait times.

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A state audit released Monday shows overpayments in North Carolina’s Medicaid program likely added up to $835 million last year. But Medicaid officials say when you factor in the size of North Carolina’s program, its error rate is lower than many other states.

Michael Tomsic

North Carolina is in the midst of a huge change to its Medicaid program, and state officials took their listening tour about it to the Charlotte area Thursday. In Huntersville and Monroe, they heard from patients, advocates and doctors.

http://www.ncdhhs.gov/

State health officials are holding public hearings in Monroe and Huntersville on Thursday on the plan to overhaul North Carolina Medicaid.

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Lowe’s home improvement company offers its employees an eye-catching benefit: certain major surgeries at prestigious hospitals are free of charge. Leaders of the Mooresville-based company are so happy with the program they’ve expanded it each of the past two years. They pull it off using a payment model that’s gaining steam across the health care industry - and that Lowe’s helped pioneer.

North Carolina’s Medicaid program is continuing a recent trend of meeting its budget or coming in under. The state health department is telling lawmakers this week the program was $181 million under budget as of December.

North Carolina’s dominant insurance company had even deeper losses on the Obamacare exchange last year. But BlueCross BlueShield’s overall business ended 2015 in better shape financially than the year before.

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