Health news headlines – August 18th

Share

Running shoes full shot

Share

Global health news – August 18th

Share

Globe floating in air

Share

Six tips for college health and safety – CDC

Share

Tips for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

BooksGoing to college is an exciting time in a young person’s life. It’s the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. College is a great time for new experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. Here are a few pointers for college students on staying safe and healthy. Continue reading

Share

Top five stories of the week

Share

The number five 5

Share

Women’s health – Week 49: TMJ

Share

tacuin womenFrom the Office of Researcher on Women’s Health

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and muscle disorders are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.

Some estimates suggest that TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans and appear to be more common in women than men.

The exact cause of TMJ is not clear. Trauma to the jaw or temporomandibular joint plays a role in some TMJ disorders but, in most cases, symptoms seem to start without obvious reason.

A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint is the most common symptom. Continue reading

Share

Hospitals seek to help patients with Obamacare premiums

Share

This KHN story also ran on .

Low-income consumers struggling to pay their premiums may soon be able to get help from their local hospital or United Way.

Some hospitals in New York, Florida and Wisconsin are exploring ways to help individuals and families pay their share of the costs of government-subsidized policies purchased though the health law’s marketplaces – at least partly to guarantee the hospitals get paid when the consumers seek care.

But the hospitals’ efforts have set up a conflict with insurers, who worry that premium assistance programs will skew their enrollee pools by expanding the number of sicker people who need more services.

“Entities acting in their [own] financial interest” could drive up costs for everyone and discourage healthier people from buying coverage, insurers wrote recently to the Obama administration. Continue reading

Share

Variation in hospital charges for blood tests called ‘irrational’

Share

RedBloodCellsBy Roni Caryn Rabin
KHN

One California hospital charged $10 for a blood cholesterol test, while another hospital that ran the same test charged $10,169 — over 1,000 times more.

For another common blood test called a basic metabolic panel, the average hospital charge was $371, but prices ranged from a low of $35 to a high of $7,303, more than 200 times more.

The wide disparity in hospitals’ listed charges for routine blood tests at California hospitals was revealed in a study published in the August issue of BMJ Open. The study examined the listed charges for routine blood tests performed in 2011. Continue reading

Share

Global health news – August 16th

Share

Globe 125X125

Share

Health news headlines – August 16

Share

CDC lab shot egg

Share

More employers limit health plan networks but seek to preserve quality, says adviser

Share

Dr. Robert Galvin is chief executive officer of Equity Healthcare, where he works with executives of nearly 50 companies that purchase health coverage for 300,000 people.

Question Q&AGalvin says the 2010 Affordable Care Act has made employers more engaged in health benefits while encouraging their workers to be savvier health care consumers.

“I think what the ACA has done more than anything is it has made every employer examine their strategy and in every case it’s bringing the CFO and the CEO” into decisions about the company’s health care, which often didn’t use to happen, he said.

Galvin also sees the move to offer workers plans with limited numbers of doctors, hospitals and other providers as increasing, but says most companies are eager to make sure those networks offer adequate quality assurances and that employees are given the option of using other providers if they want to pay more for their care.

Equity Healthcare is a wholly owned subsidiary of Blackstone, a global investment and advisory firm.

Galvin spoke recently with KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey to discuss the Affordable Care Act and how it is changing the way companies of all sizes purchase health insurance.  What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation. Continue reading

Share

Deadline looms to provide proof of citizenship for health insurance

Share

Alert Icon with Exclamation Point!If you have received a letter from the federal health insurance exchange asking for proof of citizenship, you have until September 5th to reply or you will lose your health insurance coverage by the end of the month, the government warns:

Here are the details from HealthCare.gov

Continue reading

Share

One in seven employers to offer low-benefit ‘skinny’ plans

Share

Nearly one company in six in a new survey from a major employer group plans to offer health coverage that doesn’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for value and affordability.

Many thought such low-benefit “skinny plans” would be history once the health law was fully implemented this year.

Instead, 16 percent of large employers in a survey released Wednesday by the National Business Group on Health said they will offer in 2015 lower-benefit coverage along with at least one health plan that does qualify under ACA standards.

The results weren’t unexpected by benefits pros, who realized last year that ACA regulations would allow skinny plans and even make them attractive for some employers.

But the new survey gives one of the first looks at how many companies will follow through and offer them. Continue reading

Share

Health news headlines – August 13th

Share

EKG tracing

Share

Global health news – August 13th

Share

Globe 125X125

Share

ObamaCare premiums slated to rise by an average of 7.5 percent | TheHill

Share

Twenty-dollar bill in a pill bottlePremiums on ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges will rise by an average of 7.5 percent next year, according to a new analysis.

The average national increase of 7.5 percent is “well below the double-digit increases many feared,” HRI Managing Director Ceci Connolly wrote in an email.

via ObamaCare premiums slated to rise by an average of 7.5 percent | TheHill.

Share