By Phil Galewitz KHN
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — For the past week, Henry Bowles has stood along a busy road here six hours a day holding a sign that reads “Obamacare Help Center- Free Enrollment” and points to a nearby insurance agency.
With sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s, Bowles uses a towel to grip the wooden stick bearing the sign so his sweaty hand won’t slip. He is paid about $8 an hour.
Harriet Cohen, 63, gets help enrolling in a health plan for under $7 a month at the Greenacres, Fla., library from navigator Abdius Pierre Cohen who lives in Boynton Beach, Fla. (Photo by Phil Galewitz/KHN)
Bowles, 45, is uninsured.
Money is not the reason as he tells it, although he discloses he didn’t file his taxes last year because his income wasn’t high enough.
He’s also aware there’s financial assistance for low-income people like him.
And he knows about the federal requirement to have coverage.
Will he sign up this year before open enrollment ends Jan. 31?
SAN FRANCISCO — Anne and Omar Shamiyeh first learned something was wrong with one of their twins during their 18-week ultrasound.
The technician was like, well there’s no visualization of his stomach,” said Anne. “And I was like, how does our baby have no stomach?”
It turned out that the baby’s esophagus was not connected to his stomach. He also had a heart defect. At the very least, he was likely to face surgeries and a long stay in intensive care. He might have lifelong disabilities.
This was only the start of an eight-month ordeal for the Shamiyeh family. Continue reading →
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to a Texas law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and requires abortion clinics to have the facilities of an outpatient surgical center.
No source found for Chipotle-linked E. coli outbreak – “Food safety and disease investigation staff from the Washington State Department of Health are still working to investigate the cause of an outbreak of illnesses linked to 27 cases of E. coli O26 illnesses in Washington. The first round of test results did not find E. coli bacteria in food samples taken from several Chipotle restaurants according to officials at the Food and Drug Administration.”
Shop around to get the best exchange health plan for you – “To get the best health exchange plan for you, it’s important to shop around. Doing so will help make sure you pick a plan that meets your needs — and may save you money. That’s because lower premiums can also mean a lower subsidy — and higher out-of-pocket costs.”
Depressed? Can your computer help? – “Online programs to fight depression are already commercially available, and while they sound efficient and cost-saving, a study out of the U.K. reports that they’re not effective, primarily because depressed patients aren’t likely to engage with them or stick with them.” “
When things go wrong at the hospital, who pays? – “When things like this happen in the hospital, questions arise: Who’s responsible? If treatment makes things worse – meaning patients need more care – who pays? The answer, it seems, is that it depends.”
Elder abuse, which can take the form of sexual or emotional abuse, physical violence and even financial manipulation, affects at least 10 percent of older Americans, according to a review article in the Nov. 12 New England Journal of Medicine.
Elder abuse can happen to residents in nursing homes or those living with family members.
That figure, researchers note, is likely an underestimate, since it’s based on self-reported cases, and potential victims often suffer from dementia or are otherwise isolated from people who might notice something is wrong.
But the estimate drives home how pervasive the problem is, and how familiar its victims might be. Continue reading →
Public housing residents would be banned from smoking, not just in public spaces on the premises, but in their own apartments under a proposal Thursday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposal, which is drawing criticism from many residents and being praised by others concerned about second-hand smoke.
Kalu James moved to Austin, Texas, eight years ago, but bought health insurance for the first time this year. Twenty percent of the city’s musicians live below the federal poverty line.(Photo by Veronica Zaragovia/KUT)
It looks like Kalu James is living the life as a musician. He’s standing under a neon sign, ready to play guitar at Austin’s famous Continental Club. And when he’s not here, he’s hustling to pay his bills.
“Being a full-time musician means you have three other side jobs, you know?” he says.
James moved to Austin about eight years ago and got health insurance for the first time this year. He pays $22 a month, after the $200 subsidy he gets through the Affordable Care Act. Even that is a lot, because he earns only $15,000 a year. He gets help paying his monthly premium through a local nonprofit.
“We still have to worry about counting the quarters and the pennies when we leave these venues,” he says. Health insurance doesn’t come easily. Continue reading →
Almost 8 percent of Americans 12 and older dealt with depression at some point between 2009 and 2012. With that many of us feeling blue, wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply hop on the computer in our pajamas, without any of the stigma of asking for help, and find real relief?
Online programs to fight depression are already commercially available, and while they sound efficient and cost-saving, a study out of the U.K. reports that they’re not effective, primarily because depressed patients aren’t likely to engage with them or stick with them. Continue reading →
The health insurance company Humana will begin covering telehealth consultations through some of its 2016 Medicare Advantage plans in Washington state.
The telehealth benefit, which will will be provided in partnership with the telehealth company MDLIVE, will be offered through the Humana Community HMO plans available in the King and Spokane counties and the Humana Gold Plus plans available in Benton, Franklin and Pierce counties.
Service will provide members of those plans 24/7 access to doctors through personal computers, telephone or mobile devices for less severe medical issues, such as cold and flu, headaches and skin infections.
“Video and telephone visits allow our members to receive health care when and where they need it,” said Catherine Field, Intermountain Vice President for Humana’s Senior Products.
People with Medicare may select these plans during the annual Medicare enrollment period, which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2015. Those selecting a plan with this option will be able to start using the benefit Jan. 1, 2016.
Washington state Medicare beneficiaries living in King, Spokane, Benton, Franklin and Pierce counties who are interested in utilizing MDLIVE should visit www.Humana-Medicare.com<http://www.Humana-Medicare.com> to search these plans and learn more about this and other plan benefits.
To get the best health exchange plan for you, it’s important to shop around. Doing so will help make sure you pick a plan that meets your needs — and may save you money. That’s because lower premiums can also mean a lower subsidy — and higher out-of-pocket costs.
From the Washington Health Benefit Exchange
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the state’s insurance marketplace, Washington Healthplanfinder, is urging renewing Qualified Health Plan customers to carefully review their 2016 eligibility for tax credits that are used to reduce the monthly premium cost for health insurance coverage.
The federally provided tax credit is designed to help offset the cost of health insurance premiums and is only available through the Exchange.
Those with household income under 400 percent of the federal poverty level – $97,000 for a family of four – qualify for assistance based on a sliding scale.
The price of the second lowest cost silver or “benchmark” plan offered through Washington Healthplanfinder is used to calculate the tax credit.
Last year customers received on average a monthly tax credit of more than $207.
“Premium prices change every year, including the second lowest cost silver plan. This means that the tax credits that are available will change as well,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Exchange. “It is important that customers consider these changes when shopping for coverage to ensure that they are leveraging their tax credit to find the health plan that best fits their needs and budget.”
Because health plan rates for the second lowest cost silver plans are declining in most Washington counties, the tax credit for 2016 could actually decrease for many enrollees who are renewing their coverage in 2016. Continue reading →