November 10, 2013 |
Some people - likely those close to the federal poverty level - will be able to find insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace that are free. That's because subsidies help cover the costs, and they rise for poorer applicants. As many as 715,000 Pennsylvanians - or more than half of commonwealth residents shopping for insurance on the marketplace - are eligible for subsidies, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. But navigators, insurers, and industry analysts are urging people to consider their overall needs carefully before choosing a plan and not to be seduced by the idea of no or very low monthly premiums.
November 8, 2013 |
SPRINGFIELD They sat around a makeshift conference table in the basement of Rep. Patrick Meehan's Delaware County office talking about their experiences with the Affordable Care Act. The group - two doctors, two small-business owners, an insurance broker, a self-employed man, and an unemployed woman about to lose her individual plan - talked about canceled policies, new plans with high deductibles and co-pays, privacy fears, and the erosion of...
November 6, 2013 |
OBAMACARE is going Hollywood. Since the healthcare.gov website is turning users into the Incredible Hulk, the .gov is calling on TV creative folk to make a difference and persuade the uninsured to sign up. The California Endowment, a private foundation, recently provided a $500,000 grant to ensure that TV writers and producers have information about the Affordable Care Act that can be stitched into plot lines watched by millions. The aim is to produce compelling prime-time narratives that encourage Americans to enroll, especially the young and healthy, Hispanics and other key demographic groups needed to make the overhaul a success.
November 4, 2013 |
The word Affordable in health care is a relative term. That's why many people take advantage of tax-free flexible spending accounts to set aside money for expenses not covered by insurance. At MarketWatch.com , Jonnelle Marte blogged the late-week news of an important change for flexible spending accounts. "New rules put an end to the 30-year old 'use-it-or-lose-it' restrictions on health-care flexible spending arrangements, allowing taxpayers to carry over up to $500 of unused balances to the following year," Marte writes.
November 1, 2013 |
If there is any document that illustrates the dizzying interplay between government and the business of health care, it might be Tuesday's third-quarter financial report from Universal Health Services Inc. The King of Prussia-based company operates more than 210 behavioral-health and acute-care hospitals nationwide, so the expectation would be news about admissions and patient days. Instead, it's those numbers, complicated by millions of dollars in delayed government reimbursements to Universal's hospitals for care they provided to the poor Steve Filton, Universal's chief financial officer, said that the reimbursements relate to care for the uninsured who need hospital services, but have no money to pay for them.
October 31, 2013
IT'S laughable how people, mostly Republicans, are spending so much time making a big deal about the ease of (or lack of) signing up for the health plan. OK, there are some issues; what's being lost is how eager people are to get some coverage. Then the Republicans tried to spin the registry issues, like, "Obamacare doesn't work. " In reality, the issues with registration just underscore the fact of so many people in need of coverage. The Republicans keep talking about delaying the rollout.
October 31, 2013 |
With the federal website still on the fritz after four weeks, people here seeking the affordable insurance promised by Obamacare are doing what they can on their own. Some are finding policies on insurers' websites, or estimating subsidies using independent calculators. Others are going as far as they can in the sign-up process at Healthcare.gov, hoping they can return to finish choosing coverage later. Groups that work with low-income people say that most are taking it in stride.
October 30, 2013 |
Some school districts and state and local governments are limiting part-time workers' hours or letting them go to comply with the Affordable Care Act. And it's not all political. This month in Delaware, which has embraced the health law, officials decided to limit all casual and seasonal employees, including substitute teachers, to fewer than 30 hours a week to save on health insurance. About 376 workers from education, corrections, and homeland security agencies could be affected.
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.