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NEWS
April 20, 2014 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
Lou Franzini was about to give up. For two months, he had been trying to get re-enrolled in the health plan he chose on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace. The former banker, 63, had been paying for the plan since December, but then it was arbitrarily canceled. And his calls to the marketplace always elicited a similar response: Nope, can't be done. Even the support of U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, (R., Pa.) and Independence Blue Cross couldn't sway the decision. "I'd call the marketplace and the rep would say, 'No, we have to talk to Independence,' " Franzini, of Exton, said.
NEWS
April 13, 2014 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nearly 800 public comments - overwhelmingly negative - about Gov. Corbett's alternative Medicaid expansion proposal were submitted online by Friday's deadline, far more than for other states that offered less complicated plans. With the federal comment period over, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services technically could act at any time. But public-policy experts say that the complexity of this plan - the only one in the nation to link an expansion of coverage for a new population to changes in insurance, including benefit cuts, for some current Medicaid recipients - will likely lengthen negotiations that typically take months.
BUSINESS
April 6, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Crozer-Keystone Health System and Cigna-HealthSpring are in a dispute over a Medicare Advantage contract that expires April 30. It's not unusual for negotiations between hospitals and health insurers to go down to the wire, but in this case, Crozer, Delaware County's biggest health system, insists HealthSpring, a unit of Cigna, has ended the Crozer contract. "Cigna-HealthSpring terminated our participation when we did not agree to their demand that we accept rates below Medicare rates and significantly below our cost to provide care to their members," Crozer said.
NEWS
April 6, 2014 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
There were plenty of nights during the last 33 years that Denise Schroeder of West Chester had to choose between eating dinner and paying for health insurance. And no, that is not an exaggeration. Schroeder is a cancer survivor, and for many of those years, a working, single mom who felt lucky just to have coverage. Schroeder, who owns Happy Heart Clown 'N Stuff, a party entertainment firm, always fed her daughter but skipped meals herself when money was tight to ensure she could pay the $700 monthly premium.
NEWS
March 17, 2014 | By Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
Drew Ferrara and Connie Kaminski expected flood-insurance premiums to rise in parts of Yardley, a Bucks County river town swamped by three major floods between September 2004 and June 2006. But not by 800 percent. When the insurance bill arrived in December for their two-story real estate office near the Delaware River, they saw premiums jump from about $3,000 a year to nearly $27,000. "The absurdity of it was shocking," Ferrara said. "Who can afford to pay this type of insurance?"
NEWS
March 10, 2014 | Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
It's a job where stress mounts like dollars on a taxicab meter. The hours are long, the wages are low, and the competition for customers is often fierce. Toss in an eat-on-the-go, fast-food diet, little exercise, a sore back and achy joints from jockeying through traffic all day and you start to grasp the health burdens Philadelphia cabdrivers face. "It's a high-stress job," said Ronald Blount, president of the Unified Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, which represents 1,200 of the city's 5,000 cabdrivers.
NEWS
March 3, 2014 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
The Affordable Care Act is changing more than the way Americans buy health insurance. It's making it simpler for unhappily married couples to uncouple. Word is starting to spread among family law attorneys that in the post-ACA era, health insurance isn't the binder it once was for holding bad marriages together. With more options available on the market and preexisting conditions no longer an issue, people once reluctant to divorce for fear of losing health insurance coverage would do well to reconsider.
BUSINESS
March 1, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Crozer-Keystone Health System, the biggest health-care provider in Delaware County, said Thursday that it was cutting 250 positions, after losing $15.7 million since July 1. "Changes in health care continue to have a negative effect on Crozer-Keystone and many other health-care providers in our region and throughout the country," Crozer said in a statement. The layoffs at Crozer, which employed 6,800, will include doctors and a "significant number of managers," the statement said.
NEWS
February 24, 2014 | Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
Certified application counselor Eric N. Goren has spent the last five months helping people negotiate the often-perplexing path to buying health insurance on the Affordable Care marketplace. And primary care doctor Eric N. Goren is beginning to see the results of his efforts at a clinic in West Philadelphia. "I've started to see a small number of folks who are now insured," said Goren, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. One thing the ACA hasn't changed is the lag time between calling for and scheduling an appointment.
NEWS
February 21, 2014 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Health insurance is a good thing, right? Not if you are severely injured and taken to the nearest hospital, a large new study has found. Insured patients were significantly more likely to be admitted to their local hospital - and so less likely to be taken to a designated trauma center - than uninsured patients with similar injuries, according to the analysis of 19,312 emergency department encounters at 636 hospitals. Trauma centers, many of which already treat high numbers of uninsured patients from nearby inner-city neighborhoods, lose out financially.
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