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NEWS
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.
BUSINESS
November 11, 2015 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
October 17, 2015
ISSUE | CRIME AND RACE Stop the violence and police brutality Less-than-thoughtful conversations about crime and policing that lack a racial-justice lens only serve to perpetuate stereotypes of black criminality and enable acts of police criminality ("Race, crime, and police: A closer look," Sunday). When opponents of justice reform and the Black Lives Matter movement raise the specter of "black-on-black" crime, they hope to end discussions of police brutality. They would justify heavy-handed policing and deadly use of force against unarmed black people by claiming that their race is a criminal element.
NEWS
June 7, 2015 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
Today and just about every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 Americans will turn 65 years old and become eligible for Medicare, the federal health insurance program. But let's say you're nearing 65 and have an Affordable Care Act marketplace plan you like. Do you have to enroll in Medicare when your odometer flips? Well, if you don't enroll, be careful cutting the cake, because your marketplace plan may no longer cover stitches. That's because your marketplace policy "will be a secondary plan to Medicare" after you turn 65, said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a national, nonprofit advocacy organization.
NEWS
April 18, 2015 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
April 16, 2015 | By Maddie Hanna and Thomas Fitzgerald, Inquirer Staff Writers
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Gov. Christie proposed an overhaul of federal entitlements Tuesday that would cut $1 trillion in spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid over a decade, a bold stroke aimed at reviving his presidential aspirations. Christie, trailing potential rivals for the 2016 Republican nomination in polls, said the changes were needed both to preserve the safety-net programs and to stabilize federal finances. "Every other national priority will be sacrificed, our economic growth will grind to a halt, and our national security will be put at even graver risk" without cost cutting, Christie said during a speech at St. Anselm College.
NEWS
March 11, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez noted last week that he and Dr. Salomon Melgen "celebrate holidays together, have been there for family weddings and funerals, and have given each other birthday, holiday, and wedding presents - just as friends do. " The Florida eye doctor has also spent about a million dollars on campaign donations and vacations for the New Jersey Democrat, who brought Melgen's multimillion-dollar Medicare billing dispute to the attention of...
NEWS
February 16, 2015 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
The patient with the bad heart valve will be in his 60s, say, someone who tires easily because of impaired blood flow but is otherwise in pretty good health. An informed consumer, he has seen the ads about the new way to fix the problem without having a surgeon crack open his chest. A slender catheter is threaded through the groin, a new aortic valve implanted, and the patient is home in a few days. Can he sign up? For now, Mark B. Anderson has to tell him no. "Surgery is still the gold standard," said Anderson, chair of cardiothoracic surgery at Einstein Healthcare Network.
NEWS
October 12, 2014 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
  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.
BUSINESS
July 28, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a bid to cut Medicare spending and help pay for health-care changes, the Obama administration has significantly expanded audits designed to recover improper payments from health-care providers. "We are taking, I would say, a brutal spanking, those that are fully compliant and within regulation," said Tim Fox, founder and chief executive of Fox Rehabilitation, a Cherry Hill company that provides physical therapy and other services to the elderly. "It's dead easy to commit fraud under Medicare, and that's why there's so much fraud and abuse out there," Fox said.
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