Close Close

Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

The Catch: Paperwork

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Staffers at U.S. health care organizations say they are filing too many reports and filling out too many forms.

The staffers expect the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) to make the paperwork situation worse, according to Anoto Group A.B., Lund, Sweden.

Anoto, a digital pen company, has published the paperwork overload data in a summary of results from an informal, online survey of nurses, doctors, aides and administrators at hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health care companies and other health care organizations.

A majority of the participants — 64% — said they spend about 25% to 75% of their time on paperwork.

About 80% said they often use paper records, even if their organizations have electronic health record systems, and 78% said they expect PPACA to increase the amount of paperwork they have to deal with.


U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is set to speak at 11 a.m. Thursday in Manchester, N.H., to talk about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).

Sebelius “will hear from New Hampshirites who have seen their out-of-pocket costs drop because of the cost-saving measures in the law,” officials say in an event announcement.

Participants will talk about programs such as new PPACA preventive services coverage requirements, the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, Medicare drug discounts, and a requirement that group plans that offer dependent coverage let young adults stay on their parents’ coverage up till age 26.

There is no indication whether Sebelius will hear from the many consumers who find that doctors get around the preventive services coverage requirements by billing checkups as sick visits.


Cancer patients sometimes find that knowing whether a health plan will cover a particular procedure is as difficult as figuring out where the pea is in a three-shell shell game.

Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen has tried to end the shell-game approach to coverage by creating a standard definition of “routine care” for cancer patients enrolled in state-regulated health insurance plans.

The question came up when cancer patients were trying to enroll in clinical trials for experimental cancer treatments.

The plans typically do not pay for the experimental treatments but they were deciding whether to pay for routine care while a patient was enrolled in a clinical trial on a case-by-case basis.

A 2011 bill called for Lindeen to eliminate the uncertainty and confusion by organizing a council to look into the issue.

Lindeen and the council have started by developing the “routine care” definition. Lindeen is asking insurers to use the definition.

She and the council also are asking Montana lawmakers to pass a law establishing the definition as an official state standard, and they are asking lawmakers to prohibit state-regulated health insurers from denying coverage for routine care for patients who are enrolled in clinical trials.