Want to know how many people have signed up for private insurance under Obamacare? Like the health care law itself, the answer is exceedingly complicated.
The Obama administration is tracking the number of plans purchased on the federal website healthcare.gov and on the state marketplaces, and this month reported that It had exceeded expectations by signing up 7.5 million people. In addition, federal officials have said that 3 million people have enrolled in Medicaid since October.
But often overlooked is that enrollment in private health plans outside the marketplaces is also booming. The federal government hasn’t been counting the number of people who buy new plans directly from insurance carriers — and that number could be substantial. Continue reading →
E-Cigarettes Are Targeted at Youths, Report Says – NYTimes.com – “An investigation by Democratic members of Congress into the marketing practices of electronic cigarette companies has found that major producers are targeting young people by giving away free samples at music and sporting events and running radio and television advertisements during youth-oriented programs.”
Prices Soaring for Specialty Drugs, Researchers Find – NYTimes.com – “Even as the cost of prescription drugs has plummeted for many Americans, a small slice of the population is being asked to shoulder more and more of the cost of expensive treatments for diseases like cancer and hepatitis C, according to a report to be released on Tuesday by a major drug research firm.”
Why We Misplace Our Keys, Phones, Wallets – WSJ.com – “You’ve put your keys somewhere and now they appear to be nowhere, certainly not in the basket by the door they’re supposed to go in and now you’re 20 minutes late for work. Kitchen counter, night stand, book shelf, work bag: Wait, finally, there they are under the mail you brought in last night.”
U.S. healthcare usage and spending resumes rise in 2013: report | Reuters – “Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a report issued on Tuesday by a leading healthcare information company. Spending on medicines rose 3.2 percent in the United States last year to $329.2 billion. While that was far less than the double-digit increases seen in previous decades, it was a rebound from a 1 percent decline in 2012, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc. found.”
The surgeons also condemned an infrequently performed procedure where doctors wash a pained knee joint with saline.
“They could have chosen many surgical procedures that are commonly done, where evidence has shown over the years that they don’t work or where they’re being done with no evidence,” said Dr. James Rickert, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Indiana University. “They chose stuff of no material consequence that nobody really does.”Continue reading →
With new health law, insurers target diabetics – The Washington Post – “Insurers are calling diabetics when they don’t pick up prescriptions or miss appointments. They are arranging transportation to get them to the doctor’s office and some are even sending nurses on house calls in an effort to avoid costly complications that will have big impact on their bottom lines.”
Surge in Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers for Pregnant Women – NYTimes.com – “Of 1.1 million pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid nationally, nearly 23 percent filled an opioid prescription in 2007, up from 18.5 percent in 2000, according to a study published last week in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the largest to date of opioid prescriptions among pregnant women. Medicaid covers the medical expenses for 45 percent of births in the United States.”
Odd-Hour Workers Face Loss of Employer Health Plans – WSJ.com – “Thousands of these so-called variable-hour employees—many of whom work on college campuses that don’t operate during summer months—could lose their benefits as employers use new formulas to classify workers as full time or part time. The distinction determines which employees are entitled to company-sponsored health coverage.”
LAREDO — For 12 hours a day, the waiting room at Dr. Gustavo Villarreal’s family practice is often packed with patients, people who will pay a flat $50 fee for the convenience — or necessity — of a walk-in, quick-turn doctor’s visit.
Villarreal’s practice, which does not accept any form of health insurance, has thrived despite its location in a city where nearly one-third of the population lives below the federal poverty line.Continue reading →
With Guns, Suicide Is the Biggest Problem – “Every day, 88 people die from firearm-related injury; two-thirds of those deaths are suicides, a high proportion of which are committed by seniors and individuals living in rural areas, researchers reported here.”
A Doctors People Skills Affects Patients Health – WebMD – “The review, of 13 clinical trials, found that when doctors were given training to hone their people skills, patients typically fared better in their efforts to lose weight, lower their blood pressure or manage pain.Experts said the findings, reported online April 9 in the journal PLOS One, show that the doctor-patient relationship can have an impact on peoples health.”
Minor foot wounds a major threat for diabetics | Reuters – ” For people with diabetes, one foot ulcer is very likely to lead to another, according to a new study that finds even minor lesions create a major risk of more severe foot wounds. The best defense, Dutch researchers say, is to treat even minor sores carefully and to protect feet from pressure and injury with specialized footwear.”
Kitsap County resident confirmed with measles; exposure likely in San Juan County
From the Washington State Department of Health:
April 11, 2014 - Measles continues to spread in Washington as cases in San Juan County have extended to a Kitsap County resident. A man in his 40s from Kitsap visited several places in Friday Harbor, including a restaurant where a contagious San Juan County man was at the same time.
San Juan County’s case count is now five, and Kitsap County has one. In Whatcom County, the case count remains at six. Continue reading →
Richard K. Onizuka from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange reports that 136,497 of Washington state’s 146,000 new enrollees have already paid their premiums. Almost twice as many people, 268,000, gained Medicaid coverage, he added, and 8,000 people signed up on March 31.
By Lisa Gillespie APRIL 11TH, 2014,
The Obama administration is touting the success of the health law’s open enrollment, which signed up at least 7.5 million Americans for health coverage through the online insurance marketplaces.
But the experience varied according to states and Families USA brought together five state exchange directors Thursday to talk about what they’ve seen so far. These states – Kentucky, New York, Washington, California and Connecticut — all had functioning exchanges and pursued that health law’s Medicaid expansion. Continue reading →