Photo: euthman via Flickr
Over the past several years, health care journalists have done great work highlighting the problem of surprise medical bills. There’s been so much coverage that even the U.S. House of Representatives has begun examining the issue, as Vox’s Sarah Kliff reported on March 25.
Among the many surprise patient medical bills that Kliff and others have reported about come from air ambulance companies. Continue reading
HHS has proposed a new rule that would make it easier for employers to help their workers cover medical expenses by using health reimbursement accounts (HRAs).
The proposal would allow employers to subsidize employees who buy their own health insurance either on or off the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. Employers who cover their workers — and that’s been more stable than many expected under the ACA — could give employees up to $1,800 a year (indexed to inflation) to finance HRAs, which are tax-advantaged accounts. That would go toward out-of-pocket costs. Continue reading
Photo: Sonya CollinsTrebor Randle, special agent in charge of the Child Fatality Review Unit of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, shares Georgia-specific suicide rates and demographics.
Death by suicide is on the rise and is the second-leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 39. In some cases, especially with children younger than 18, the media may shy away from covering these tragic deaths.
That’s not the correct approach, says Trebor Randle, special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Randle works in the Child Fatality Review Unit of the GBI. She investigates every case when a child dies by suicide under the age of 18. Continue reading
The latest health care spending trends are out from the Medicare actuaries – and most reporters focused on how spending in 2014 ticked up after five years of slow growth (though the growth isn’t as rapid as some periods in the past). They raised questions about whether this harkens a return to the “runaway” growth of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Jeff Young of the Huffington Post had a different take. Continue reading
We posted recently about California’s assessment of who was dropping out of the exchange, including the finding that most people leaving Covered California were getting health insurance elsewhere.
But as Abby Goodnough later reported from Yazoo City, Miss., that’s not always the reason for higher turnover in other areas. Retaining enrollees is a challenge – and affordability is one big reason. That’s true even for people whose premiums are heavily subsidized. Continue reading
Medicare season is here, and consumers – your readers, viewers and listeners – need lots of help in making their choices.
Open enrollment begins Oct. 15 for the 49 million Americans on Medicare, and ends Dec. 7. This is the time when they can change the way they receive their health benefits, for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015.
The choices are:
- Traditional Medicare, in which patients can get care from any doctor or hospital participating in the Medicare program. Beneficiaries pay for Part B, which covers doctors’ care, and Part D, which covers prescription drugs. Most people with this coverage also choose Medi-gap, a supplemental coverage which fills in some of the extra costs you may have. HHS just announced the Part B premiums for 2015.
- Medicare Advantage Plan, also known as a Part C plan. This is one-stop shopping, in which consumers pay a fee and get care, staying within a network of doctors and hospitals operated by the plan. In return for using the network, they may get some extra benefits, such as drugs, eyeglasses, and perhaps even a gym membership.