October 28, 2013 |
THE REGION From Rick Colello's perspective, Doylestown Township taxpayers are getting a deal. He works 13 to 15 hours a week as a township supervisor, often in meetings or responding to residents. He forgoes the supervisors' $4,100 annual stipend. But he lets the township pay $14,000 a year for health insurance for him and his wife. Larry Glick sees it as no bargain at all. He says Colello and his fellow supervisors, all of whom refuse the stipend but get health benefits, are taking advantage of taxpayers.
October 22, 2013 |
When 87-year-old Lee Koff received a new defibrillator implant in January at Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, he paid estimated out-of-pocket costs of $125. That was not much more than the $81 he paid in 2010 for his previous defibrillator, a device that regulates his heartbeat. But about two months after the January procedure, Koff, who has Medicare Advantage health insurance from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, received a statement saying he owed Lourdes $6,071.
October 17, 2013 |
The shifting landscape of American health care - for good or bad, depending on your opinion, status, employer, and particular changes - was evident Tuesday when one of the Philadelphia region's larger private employers, Johnson & Johnson, reported financial results for the third quarter of 2013. The health-care giant had increased sales and profits, but also greatly increased the money set aside to pay pending legal bills, and warned of possible layoffs in a local division because people are postponing elective surgery to repair knees, hips, and backs.
October 11, 2013 |
BACK IN February 1968, Dr. Walter P. Lomax Jr. had a distinguished patient. Martin Luther King Jr. was in Philadelphia to give a speech and he became ill. He arrived in Dr. Lomax's South Philadelphia office with an upper-respiratory infection. Nothing serious. "We took a picture together, and I asked him to write something for my kids," Lomax said in a 1983 interview in the Daily News. His message to the Lomax children was a simple one: "May you have a noble future. " For King, time was running out. Two months later, on April 4, 1968, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., where he had gone to fight for the rights of garbage workers.
October 7, 2013 |
This message on the Affordable Care Act's online portal Friday summed matters up succinctly: "We have a lot of visitors on the site right now. Please stay on this page. We're working to make the experience better, and we don't want you to lose your place in line. We'll send you to the log-in page as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience!" So went Week One of the nation's great experiment with universal health care: a flood of demand, at least for information, overwhelming new online health exchanges that, at least initially, were not up to the task.
October 7, 2013 |
With two new HMO plans introduced last week on the federal insurance exchange, Independence Blue Cross is offering consumers a road map to cut out-of-pocket health-care costs. The trick for consumers who sign up for Blue Cross' HMO Proactive plans is to choose hospitals, primary-care physicians, and specialists in the least expensive of IBC's three price tiers of health-care providers. IBC officials emphasized that tier one, the cheapest, is not a limited or narrow network because customers have access to the entire network; they just have to pay more if they choose a provider - a doctor or a hospital - in tier two or three.
October 6, 2013
Met on a great battlefield As the intemperate, inflammatory, and largely false Republican charges against Obamacare continue, it was reassuring to read the measured, dispassionate commentary by Vice President Biden ("Delivering on health care," Oct. Oct. 1). He enumerates dramatic improvements already realized: millions receiving preventive care, young adults staying on their parents' plan, and seniors saving on prescriptions. President Obama and congressional Democrats have fought to make health care affordable for all Americans.
October 5, 2013 |
Accessing Healthcare.gov was better Thursday - but not for everyone. "Nothing" was what Kate Kozeniewski found when she logged on to the government's new website for purchasing health insurance. "When I log on, I make it to the point where it asks the security questions, and then it says there is an error in the system," said Kozeniewski, program coordinator with the Philadelphia-based Resources for Human Development (RHD), which is providing health insurance enrollment assistance in 10 counties in Pennsylvania.
October 4, 2013
It's hard to imagine, but the Philadelphia Daily News actually overreached more in its editorial against driller XTO Energy ("Drill Seeker," Sept. 13) than Attorney General Kathleen Kane did in her filing against the company. To compare an accidental leak that, according to state and federal regulators, caused no lasting environmental impact to a West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 workers is absurd. Let's be clear: an accident happened. The company responded immediately and cleaned the site.
October 4, 2013 |
Uncertainty reigned with the launch of the Affordable Care Act's health-care exchanges. Not among consumers, but among small-business owners. Overshadowed by the advent Tuesday of the consumer health-care exchanges has been a parallel portion of the law that affects small businesses. As envisioned, Tuesday also was to be launch day for SHOP - the Small Business Options Program, a marketplace where owners of businesses with fewer than 50 employees could shop for insurance. Opening of the online SHOP marketplace has been delayed a month, however, and is now set for Nov. 1. "Right now, small businesses are viewing it with a lot of confusion," said Edward T. MacConnell, president and owner of Total Benefits Solutions Inc., which advises firms on health-care and other benefits.