health care

Claudia Muñoz/WLRN

Beginning in July, if you have health insurance and go to an in-network hospital but a doctor who is not in your insurance plan’s network helps you, you aren’t supposed to get a surprise bill. The law is designed to stop what’s called balanced billing - the practice of charging a patient for medical care delivered by doctors outside their insurance network even when the the care was performed at an in-network facility.

 

Security camera footage from the Barsotti family via Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald Tribune

Note: This interview was first published in December 2015. Leonora LaPeter Anton and her colleagues were awarded a Pulitzer Prize this week for their investigation.  

Thousands of children of legal immigrants will be closer to obtaining subsidized health insurance this summer, after the Legislature passed a long-debated expansion of the state's KidCare program.

Until this year, children of legal immigrants were technically eligible for KidCare --- the low-cost federal-state health insurance program --- but had to wait five years to actually start receiving services.

That changed on Thursday, when Gov. Rick Scott signed the state budget into law. Contained in an accompanying bill (HB 5101) was language eliminating the five-year wait.

  An outpatient treatment for severely depressed patients who get no relief from drugs or talk therapy is becoming increasingly available and affordable.

San Jorge Children's Hospital is Puerto Rico's largest pediatric hospital, drawing patients from throughout the Caribbean. It's a bustling facility in San Juan, with specialties in surgery, rheumatology and oncology. It also has brightly colored live parrots at every entrance.

"It just sends a message to the patient that they're in a friendly place," explains San Jorge's vice president of operations, Domingo Cruz Vivaldi. "That they're here to be treated, but they're also going to have a good time."

Health News Florida

Consumers skeptical about the real cost of health care will soon have a resource where they can ask and share with their neighbors the price of common medical procedures.

Health News Florida in April will be launching PriceCheck, a database that blends together prices we’ve collected with information from consumers living in South Florida and the Tampa Bay area.

Hispanic Children’s Uninsured Rate Hits Record Low, Study Finds

Jan 20, 2016

The rate of Hispanic children without health insurance fell to a historic low in 2014, the first year that key parts of Obamacare took effect, but they still represent a disproportionate share of the nation’s uninsured youth, according to a new study.

Federal health advisers recommended approval Tuesday for an experimental implant designed to treat patients recovering from heroin and painkiller addiction.

Jan. 15 is the last day to sign up on HealthCare.gov for a plan that starts Feb. 1.  The deadline is key for avoiding tax penalties under the federal health law.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Sherice Bennett is a caretaker.

She takes care of her sister who has cerebral palsy. She had two sons, two dogs and she still has the tank that used to house her turtle and fish.

It’s a role she happily fills on top of the other roles she’s taken on over the years: call center coordinator, caterer, accounts payable, executive secretary and, when that failed, school bus and truck driver.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Florida State Rep. Carlos Trujillo is in the middle of some pressing and controversial issues this legislative session.

The South Florida Republican sponsored one bill that would close a health insurance gap and another that would make it illegal for people who have been deported to come back into Florida.

And before session even started, he took heat from the gun lobby for his position on a Stand Your Ground bill.

Trujillo sat down in his Tallahassee office on the first day of session to talk about his expectations this year and what that means for Floridians:

Steve Cannon / AP

To the surprise and delight of lawmakers who have long backed the proposal, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Tuesday called for eliminating a five-year waiting period for children of legal immigrants to be eligible for the state's KidCare health-insurance program.

"I got goose bumps," said Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, a Miami Republican who has backed the proposal throughout his House tenure. "This has been a long time coming."

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Linda Quick has been a force in Florida health care policy for decades.

Quick—who was born at Coral Gables Hospital—spent 40 years working in health care. The past two decades of that were with the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, which represents hundreds of hospitals and health-care businesses on legislative and industry issues.

Quick has had an insider’s view of some of the biggest policy and economic events affecting the health of Floridians.

And as of January, she’s retired.

Alyssa Mendez Batista

Florida leads the nation again for the number of people signing up for individual health insurance -- Obamacare.  Over the first five weeks of open enrollment this fall, 600,000 Floridians signed up. That's about half the total number of people expected to sign up once all of the enrollment periods expire.

The latest numbers from federal health officials show Florida is continuing to lead in enrollment on HealthCare.gov, with nearly 600,000 who have signed up so far.

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