health insurance

Premiums for health insurance plans sold on the federal marketplace are expected to increase by nearly 16.9 percent in Florida next year due to changes in the Affordable Care Act, according to a new analysis.

Released on Friday by the Center for American Progress, the analysis estimates that a decision by Congress and President Donald Trump to repeal the mandate that people buy health insurance, coupled with proposed changes to the types of policies that can be sold, will increase premiums for Floridians by $1,011.

More Floridians get their health insurance through their jobs than from any other source—about 42 percent of us, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Vision Care Lags, With Blind Spots In Insurance Coverage

May 15, 2018

Every day, a school bus drops off as many as 45 children at a community eye clinic on Chicago's South Side. Many of the kids were referred to the clinic after failing vision screenings at their public schools.

Clinicians and students from the Illinois College of Optometry give the children comprehensive eye exams, which feature refraction tests to determine a correct prescription for eyeglasses and dilation of their pupils to examine their eyes, including the optic nerve and retina.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has this pen. It's not all that remarkable looking, but he held it up multiple times Monday at a briefing with reporters.

"This pen," he said, "has a lot of power."

And he said he is prepared to use it.

Azar was making the point that in the area of drug prices, the head of HHS — which runs the Medicare and Medicaid programs and buys about $130 billion in prescription drugs each year — can make a lot of changes in the pharmaceutical market. And he doesn't need congressional approval to do it.

Sammy Mack

If you're like a lot of Floridians and get your health insurance through an employer, some of your health care decisions may be made for you before you ever set foot in a doctor's office, hospital or lab. 

Direct 'Primary Care Bill' Gets Scott's Approval

Mar 26, 2018
Rick Scott/flickr

After years of legislative discussion about the issue, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a measure (HB 37) that amends the state insurance code to make clear that “direct primary care” agreements do not run afoul of insurance laws. Under direct primary-care agreements, doctors charge patients monthly fees in advance of providing services, with patients then able to access services at no extra cost. The bill, sponsored by House Insurance & Banking Chairman Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, and Sen.

As congressional Republicans and the Trump administration keep chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, a number of states are enacting laws that aim to safeguard its central provisions.

The GOP tax plan approved by Congress in the last days of 2017 repealed the ACA penalty for people who fail to carry health insurance, a provision called the individual mandate.

But before that federal change happens next year, some states are working to preserve the effects of the mandate by creating their own versions of it.

Health plans that don't meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act; work requirements for Medicaid coverage; changes to Medicare's approved drug lists: As the ground continues to shift on health care coverage, I'm answering readers' queries this week about these three different types of plans:

Paperback Paris

On Tuesday, Broward County became the latest municipality to ban conversion therapy for kids. The ban passed in a unanimous vote.

The controversial therapy, designed to psychologically change a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, has proved to be harmful to kids and teens. Broward County follows the lead of Palm Beach County, which was the first in the state to pass the ban.

Dr. Mahendra Patel, a pediatric cancer doctor, has begun giving away medications to some of his young patients, determined not to disrupt their treatments for serious illnesses like leukemia. He's worried Congress will fail to renew funding soon for a health program that pays for the care of millions of children across the country.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

There is a card in Joost Sajet’s wallet that looks like any other health insurance card—plan name, policyholder, group number, a hotline number for providers—but what Sajet presents to his doctors is not normal insurance.

 

That’s because Sajet is fed up with normal insurance.

Doctors would have greater leeway in prescribing medications to patients - and insurance companies would have less time to approve prior-authorization requests under a bill proposed by a lawmaker from Sarasota.

With money for Florida's subsidized children's health-insurance program due to run out in a matter of weeks, the state has not warned the parents of roughly 200,000 children that they could soon lose coverage.

It's a beautiful morning in Pittsburgh, but Ariel Haughton is stressed out. She's worried her young children's health insurance coverage will soon lapse.

"So, we're like a low-middle-class family, right?" she says. "I'm studying. My husband's working, and our insurance right now is 12 percent of our income — just for my husband and I. And it's not very good insurance either."

The policy that covers the couple requires high fees to even see a doctor, and it has a high deductible for further treatment.

Open enrollment on the federal health law's marketplace — HealthCare.gov — 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.

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