July 8, 2016
By Joe Pitts Americans who once believed that Obamacare would deliver are long past being disillusioned. President Obama promised people lower premiums and deductibles and the ability to keep their current health plans if they liked them; the opposite happened. Under Obamacare, Americans received higher premiums and deductibles and encountered insurers that dropped their plans. Americans are understandably wary of another "solution. " Late last month, Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.)
July 8, 2016 |
The special investigations unit of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey generated $43.2 million in savings last year by rooting out fraud, the Newark, N.J., health insurer said Wednesday. Horizon said one of the latest trends in fraud is the "phantom doctor's office," which are shell offices that submit bogus claims using stolen insurance identification numbers and then vanish. Another increasingly common scheme, Horizon said, is "the impossible day," on which a doctor claims to have seen dozens or even hundreds of patients.
July 3, 2016 |
Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller has scheduled a hearing for July 27 to give consumers a chance to comment on proposed rate increases on 2017 health-insurance plans to be sold on the federal marketplace, the department said Friday. "A public hearing on these rate requests fulfills the Wolf administration's high standards for government transparency, while also giving companies an opportunity to explain their requests, Insurance Department staff a chance to outline our review process, and the public a forum to express how these rates may affect them," Miller said.
July 3, 2016 |
Some consumers who use health insurance copays to buy prescription drugs are paying far more than they should be and would be better off paying with cash, especially for generics. The added cost runs as high as $30 or more a prescription, say pharmacists, and the profit is largely being pocketed by middlemen who collect the added money from local pharmacies. Cash prices started to dip below copays a decade ago when several big box stores started offering dozens of generics for as little as $4 a prescription.
May 27, 2016 |
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department on Wednesday released preliminary rate requests for 20 small-group health plans and 18 individual plans that will be offered under the Affordable Care Act for next year. The requests for increases now under reveiw by the insurance department averaged 7.9 percent for small group plans and 23.6 percent for individual plans, but the final rates that will be posted in October could be lower. In addition, 75 percent of the Pennsylvanians who purchased insurance for this year on the exchange received a federal subsidy that reduces their cost.
May 17, 2016
By David Woods One hears these days mutterings by disaffected Americans that if Donald Trump becomes president, they will pack their bags and leave for Canada. One assumes, of course, that no wall will be built along the border to thwart their exit. I made the reverse trip. Having emigrated from Britain to Canada, where I became the editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, I opted to come to the United States in 1988 for personal reasons. But I was also taken with American rugged individualism and a health-care system focused on market forces and competition.
May 5, 2016
ISSUE | CAMPAIGN 2016 Protest Trump at Penn - peacefully I assume there will be protesters at the University of Pennsylvania on May 15, considering the expected presence of Donald Trump at the School of Arts and Science's commencement ceremonies ("Penn graduation will be long on top-tier statesmen," Tuesday). They should be there to acknowledge the threat to our country posed by Trump's presidential candidacy; his domestic policy of hatred toward African Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, and women; and his foreign policy, which consists of little more than bluster and "America First" slogans.
April 14, 2016
ISSUE | HEALTH CARE Doctors' role is key Dr. Peter Ubel's commentary about the complexity of health-insurance plans made the important point that caregivers are unprepared to help patients make cost-conscious decisions about their care ("Choices, plans overwhelming for patients," Friday). Yet many employers that adopt consumer-driven coverage pay little attention to the evidence that employees with high-deductible plans tend to cut back on beneficial as well as wasteful care. That jeopardizes patients' health and could undermine employers' savings when poorly managed health results in high-cost care or disability leaves.
April 11, 2016 |
Faculty members at 14 Pennsylvania state universities have opted against going on strike this school year, despite frustrations over ongoing contract negotiations, the union representing them announced Saturday. If there is no progress at the bargaining table, members could take a strike authorization vote either over the summer or in September, the Association of Pennsylvania State Colleges and University Faculties (APSCUF) said in a statement. "In the end, my colleagues believed that a strike at the very end of the semester would unfairly burden students and their families," the union's president, Kenneth M. Mash, said in the release.
April 1, 2016
Six years into Obamacare, its critics still see the Affordable Care Act as a sign of the apocalypse. All three Republican candidates for president have vowed to repeal it if elected. Their obstinacy is a reminder of past naysayers who similarly predicted that Social Security and Medicare would destroy the fabric of America. Actor and budding politician Ronald Reagan, in a speech recorded in 1961 for the American Medical Association, called Medicare "socialized medicine. " Were Medicare to become law, he said, "One of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in America when men were free.