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.)
January 4, 2016 |
Injectable insulin, which keeps some diabetics alive and keeps others out of serious health crises, has soared in price in the last few years. "It is out of control," said Carol Hammond, 72, a diabetic who lives in North Philadelphia and survives on Social Security. "My rent isn't too bad, but after paying for insulin, I don't have much left. " Hammond said she skips buying or taking doses because her Medicare and Medicare Advantage health- insurance plans don't always cover the cost of her insulin at the pharmacy counter.
November 18, 2015
ISSUE | MEDICARE Help kidney patients Harold Brubaker's article on Medicare Advantage open enrollment ("Seniors shopping for private Medicare have many new choices," Nov. 10) might have noted that some 4,700 beneficiaries in the Philadelphia area are not permitted to choose private plans because they have kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease. This prohibition may have made sense three decades ago, when private Medicare plans were created, but today it constitutes discrimination, preventing kidney patients from enjoying the maximum out-of-pocket limits that apply in private plans but not in traditional fee-for-service Medicare.
November 11, 2015 |
The financial pain of a two-week hospital stay 15 years ago for a heart ailment gives Patricia Johnstone a sharp focus when she shops for private Medicare insurance. "The hospital is the main thing I'm concerned about," said Johnstone, 75, who with her husband, Robert, attended a Health Partners Plans information session last week at the Wegmans market in Collegeville. The Johnstones were unsettled when they heard that hospital stays would cost up to $295 a day for the first six days under Health Partners, which is expanding its Medicare business into the Pennsylvania suburbs next year.
September 20, 2015 |
FirstRound Capital, the early-stage venture investment firm, says it has made its largest-ever investment - $4 million - in Clover Health, a Medicare Advantage plan that uses patient data analytics to predict users' health-care spending, encourage preventive care, and reduce hospital visits. FirstRound's investment is part of a package of equity investments and borrowing totaling $100 million, which Clover plans to use to expand beyond its nine-county base in northern New Jersey.
September 11, 2015 |
Doylestown Health Partners, a joint venture between Doylestown Hospital and about 440 primary care and specialist physicians, entered a contract to manage Humana's 3,200 Medicare Advantage customers in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Humana, based in Louisville, Ky., agreed in July to be acquired by Aetna for $37 billion. In July, Humana had 8,246 Medicare Advantage customers in the eight-country Philadelphia region. Nationwide, Humana has 1.5 million Medicare Advantage customers, the company said.
April 18, 2015 |
The mind-bogglingly complex American health-care system took a step toward user-friendliness Thursday when the federal government assigned star ratings - 1 to 5, like restaurant and movie reviews - for patient satisfaction at thousands of U.S. hospitals. Many leading hospitals received middling ratings, while comparatively obscure community hospitals and others that specialize in lucrative surgeries frequently received the most stars. In the Philadelphia region, for example, just two hospitals - Physicians Care Surgical Hospital in Montgomery County and Cancer Treatment Centers of America's Eastern Regional Medical Center in Crescentville - scored five stars.
October 12, 2014 |
In June, Anthony Capone said he liked his AmeriHealth Medicare Advantage plan so much he persuaded his 89-year-old mother and aunt to make the switch. Things were going along fine until recently, when the Mount Laurel businessman's renewal notice arrived in the mail. He opened the package and was taken aback. His monthly premium had spiked to $62 a month, a $23 rise. Other fees - in-hospital co-pay (up to $175), Part D deductible ($25), and ambulance ($100) - have also risen.
June 28, 2014 |
Sometimes, a Good Samaritan turns out to be anything but. That's how Delores Cantz feels about an episode in March, when the 82-year-old slipped and fell while dancing at a party in Warminster. Cantz said that after the fall she got up and walked to a side room, where - to her surprise - a crew from the nonprofit Warminster Volunteer Ambulance Corps was waiting to evaluate her and take her to a local hospital. She refused what she thought was an unneeded emergency-room visit.
June 9, 2014 |
When it comes to health insurance, Anthony Capone considers himself "on top of this stuff. " So in 2013 when the Mount Laurel businessman turned 65, he pored over Medicare Advantage plans, even visiting a Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield store to talk details. He eventually bought a Horizon no-premium Medicare Advantage plan. He liked the policy so much he persuaded his then-89-year-old mother to ditch her plan and go with Horizon. So in the fall, Capone was primed to renew during open enrollment until he saw that his no-premium insurance had removed the "no. " The 2014 version of the plan came with a monthly premium of $153.70.