The online health insurance marketplaces can't open soon enough for Chris and Kristi Petersen. Enrolled in the Iowa high-risk insurance pool because insurers on the private market won't cover them, the couple pays more than $1,300 each month for a plan with a $2,500 annual deductible and a 20 percent copay for medical services. It's more than they can afford.
"At the end of this year, these exchanges are either going to have to offer some relief, or I'm just going to quit working and let the welfare take care of us," says Chris. "I'm fed up with it. I'm fed up with insurance."
Uncle Sam wants your doctor to go digital. And the federal government is backing that up with money for practices that start using computerized systems for record keeping.
Nearly half of all physicians in America still rely on paper records for most patient care. Time is running out for those who do to take advantage of federal funds to make the switch. So practices like Colorado Springs Internal Medicine are scrambling to get with the program.
Actually, the county only wants the medications taking up space in your bathroom cabinet, the ones that might end up in the wrong hands.
At first glance, the receptacles cropping up all over Palm Beach County look like the donation bins that collect old clothes for charity. But printed on the front of each drop-off box is the urgent instruction to “Deposit Your Unwanted Prescription Drugs Here!”
The biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are set to begin less than three months from now. Oct. 1 is when people can start signing up for coverage in new state health exchanges. The policies would kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.
It can all be a little confusing, we agree. So two weeks ago, we asked what you wanted to know about the health law.
Andrea Velandia, 29, is just the sort of person the architects of the new health insurance marketplaces had in mind when they were thinking about future customers.
She's young, in good health, uninsured and Latino.
"We're very healthy. We don't have many issues," she says of her family. For the most part, she and her husband avoid the health system. "It's very expensive to go to the doctor to get a regular checkup," she says. "And you only have an option to go to the emergency room, which is even more expensive."
When the blood pressure drug Bystolic hit the market in 2008, it faced a crowded field of cheap generics.
So its maker, Forest Laboratories, launched a promotional assault on the group in the best position to determine Bystolic's success: those in control of prescription pads. It flooded the offices of health professionals with drug reps, and it hired doctors to persuade their peers to choose Bystolic — even though the drug hadn't proved more effective than competitors.
Who's going to be more successful at selling health insurance to young men this fall: NBA MVP LeBron James, NFL rookie of the year Robert Griffin III, or Mom? If officials at the Department of Health and Human Services get their way, all may be drafted.
This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.
But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.
Once upon a time, nurses were not allowed to take blood pressure – only the doctor could do that. Times change.
But they haven’t changed enough. For 19 years, nurse practitioners in Florida have tried to get the right to practice to the full extent of our education and capability, which includes prescribing scheduled substances. So far, our efforts have been fruitless.