health care costs

Flickr Creative Commons/Hamza Butt / WLRN

A bill that would allow physicians, chiropractors and group practices to sign “direct primary-care” agreements with patients without running amok of Florida’s insurance laws is on its way to Gov. Rick Scott.

The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to approve the measure (HB 37), sponsored by Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, and Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa. The House passed the bill in January by a 97-10 vote.

It's one of the intractable financial boondoggles of the U.S. health care system: Lots and lots of patients get lots and lots of tests and procedures that they don't need.

A day after President Trump said the Affordable Care Act "has been repealed," officials reported that 8.8 million Americans have signed up for coverage on the federal insurance exchange for 2018 — nearly reaching the 2017 number in half the sign-up time.

That total is far from complete. Enrollment is still open in parts of seven states, including Florida and Texas, that use the federal exchange but were affected by hurricanes earlier this year.

Open enrollment on the federal health law's marketplace — — ends Friday, and most people who want a plan for next year need to meet the deadline.

But some consumers who miss the cutoff could be surprised to learn they have the opportunity to enroll later.

"While a lot of people will be eligible ... I am still worried that a lot of consumers won't know it," says Shelby Gonzales, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Margaret Leatherwood has eight choices for health insurance next year but no good options.

Health insurance a la carte?

Court Backs Hospitals In Outpatient Rate Dispute

Dec 1, 2017

Siding with dozens of hospitals across the state, an appeals court Thursday said the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration improperly dismissed challenges dealing with Medicaid reimbursement rates for outpatient care.

Drug prices are too high, and we had better do something about it. That is the nutshell conclusion of a 201-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Ambulances Stick Patients With Surprise Bills

Nov 27, 2017

One patient got a $3,660 bill for a 4-mile ride. Another was charged $8,460 for a trip from one hospital that could not handle his case to another that could. Still another found herself marooned at an out-of-network hospital, where she’d been taken by ambulance without her consent.

Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter Wednesday morning to encourage people to shop for Affordable Care Act health insurance.

Obama's rare appeal comes as his signature health care law is under attack by his successor, President Trump, and Republicans in Congress.

The 2018 annual open-enrollment period for coverage on the health insurance marketplaces starts Wednesday. But if you don't take care of lingering issues from your past coverage, they may come back to haunt you.

Unpaid premiums

A new rule will allow some insurers to require you to pay any back premiums you owe for the 12 months prior to the effective date of your new coverage.

Open enrollment for people who buy their own health insurance starts Wednesday and ends Dec. 15. That means there are only 45 days to shop for coverage. The shorter enrollment period this year is just one of the changes to the process for buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Here are five important factors to keep in mind if you plan to sign up for ACA coverage for 2018.

1. The health law has not been repealed.

Despite the efforts of President Trump and the Republican-led Congress, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land.

For people who buy health insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, the 2018 open enrollment period begins in one week. But many consumers are confused about what to expect. No wonder.

Bipartisan Plan To Curb Health Premiums Gets Strong Support

Oct 20, 2017

A bipartisan proposal to calm churning health insurance markets gained momentum Thursday when enough lawmakers rallied behind it to give it potentially unstoppable Senate support. But its fate remained unclear as some Republicans sought changes that could threaten Democratic backing.

Survey: US Uninsured Up 3.5M This Year; Expected To Rise

Oct 20, 2017

The number of U.S. adults without health insurance is up nearly 3.5 million this year, as rising premiums and political turmoil over "Obamacare" undermine coverage gains that drove the nation's uninsured rate to a historic low.