Last-minute sign up tips for health insurance

Share

ACA health reform logoFrom Washington Healthplanfinder 

Washington Healthplanfinder has some last-minute health insurance shopping tips for you. The exchange enrollment period starts today, Nov. 15, 2014, at 8 a.m.

Help will be available across the state for customers who would like to start the application process this weekend. The open enrollment period runs through Feb. 15, 2015.

To help residents get enrolled, Washington Healthplanfinder developed these helpful tips and guidelines: Continue reading

Share

Perry-Appointed Board Backs Health Coverage Expansion | The Texas Tribune

Share

200px-Flag-map_of_TexasThe 15-member Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency recommended that the state’s health commissioner be authorized to negotiate a Texas-specific agreement with the federal government to expand health coverage to the poor, “using available federal funds.”

“We’re trying to look at actions whereby more Texans can be covered,” said board chairman Steve Berkowitz, the president and founder 0f SMB Health Consulting. “We’re trying to take the politics out of it.”

via Perry-Appointed Board Backs Health Coverage Expansion | The Texas Tribune.

Share

Florida hospitals could lose billions without Medicaid expansion, group warns | The Miami Herald

Share

500px-Flag_of_Florida.svgFlorida legislators’ refusal to expand the eligibility criteria for Medicaid as called for under the Affordable Care Act might cost billions of dollars in lost funding for hospitals that treat many uninsured patients, according to a report released Monday by Florida Legal Services, a nonprofit legal advocate for the poor.

via Florida hospitals could lose billions without Medicaid expansion, group warns | The Miami Herald.

Share

King County to take “all-hands-on-deck” approach to cover the uninsured

Share

Renewed effort to get all of King County insured; ‘Kick Off’ events this Saturday

From Public Health – Seattle & King County

SeattleIn just the first year of expanded access under the federal Affordable Care Act, more than a third of the uninsured residents in King County have enrolled in a health insurance plan.

Now, King County is redoubling efforts to reach the remaining uninsured, as the state’s second “Open Enrollment” season launches on Saturday, November 15.

“Our ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach last season helped nearly 200,000 people in King County enroll in health insurance, cutting the rate of the uninsured by more than one third and providing a model for the nation,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The more people we help enroll this season, the stronger we make our region’s health and economy.”

The Public Health department is coordinating nearly 100 outreach locations this month, which will be staffed by local organizations with certified in-person assisters, called “Navigators.

”During open enrollment, from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015, individuals can purchase health insurance plans through the Washington Healthplanfinder website or through the state’s help-line, at 855-923-4633.

The county’s strategy builds on last year’s successes and brings new ways to assist those who need help enrolling.

For example, this year, the enrollment season kicks-off with two events at major shopping malls, where the public can find in-person help, in multiple languages: Continue reading

Share

Plan to sign up for Obamacare plan? Best get cracking.

Share

CalendarBy Michele Andrews
KHN

Smooth sailing. The administration promises and outside experts expect that this year’s open enrollment period on the health insurance marketplaces will be markedly less glitchy and balky than last.

Consumers will begin to find out if that’s true tomorrow when the marketplaces open for 2015 coverage.

So if you’re planning to shop, get cracking.

But even if enrollment goes smoothly this year, consumers shouldn’t be complacent about reviewing their options online to sign up for or renew their coverage, say experts.

The three-month sign-up window that closes Feb. 15 is half as long as last year’s, and if consumers want coverage to begin Jan. 1 they need to sign up much earlier than that, by Dec. 15.

So if you’re planning to shop, get cracking. Continue reading

Share

Vaccination is the most effective flu prevention for seniors

Share

Flu shot todayBy Dr. Kory B. Fowler
Medical Director, Intermountain Region
Humana

The influenza virus– commonly known as the flu – affects up to 20 percent of Americans annually, leaving more than 200,000 people hospitalized from complications each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The flu is particularly dangerous for Washington seniors, who often have pre-existing chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Last year the flu vaccine prevented 6.6 million illnesses, 3.2 million doctor visits and at least 79,000 hospitalizations.

There are many ways to reduce the risk of catching the virus, such as washing your hands often, but an annual flu shot is the most effective way to prevent the flu and reduce the risk of complications. Continue reading

Share

Health news headlines – November 14th

Share
Photo: Etan J. Tal (CC)

Photo: Etan J. Tal (CC)

Share

Global health news – November 14th

Share

Globe floating in air

Share

HIV clinic in Federal Way to increase treatment access for patients

Share

UW Federal WayFrom the Washington State Department of Health

The Department of Health is funding a new HIV satellite clinic in Federal Way.

It’s the fourth department-funded satellite clinic aimed at improving access to primary medical care for HIV-positive people in Puget Sound.

The satellite clinic operates through a partnership with Harborview Medical Center’s Madison Clinic.

A Harborview physician will be available every Thursday at the UW-Neighborhood Clinic in Federal Way to provide care to HIV patients living in Federal Way and nearby communities.

The department is giving Harborview $42,000 to cover the physician’s time and the costs of administering the services. The clinic opened Oct. 9, 2014.

Earlier satellite clinics opened in Everett, Bremerton and Olympia (in partnership with SeaMar Community Health Center).

The state health department estimates that there are as many as 2,365 people living with HIV in the southern King County and Pierce County areas. Continue reading

Share

Millions of Medicaid Kids missing regular checkups

Share

Illustration: Doctor listens to a young boy's chest with a stethoscopeBy Phil Galewitz
KHN

Millions of low-income children are failing to get the free preventive exams and screenings guaranteed by Medicaid and the Obama administration is not doing enough to fix the problem, according to a federal watchdog report.

The report, released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG), says the administration has boosted rates of participation but needs to do more to ensure that children get the regular wellness exams, dental checkups and vision and hearing tests.

The report notes that 63 percent of children on Medicaid received at least one medical screening in 2013, up from 56 percent in 2006, but still far below the department’s 80 percent goal. Continue reading

Share

Health news headlines – November 13th

Share

Woman receiving botox injections to forehead

Share

Global Health News – November 13th

Share

Globe floating in air

Share

UW takes first big step toward expanded medical school, leases Spokane building – Puget Sound Business Journal

Share

UW wsuLeasing a new building will in Spokane will “help UW expand its medical school program in Spokane. The school’s plans to grow have been a point of contention over the last year as Washington State University also announced plans to start the state’s second publicly-funded medical school in Spokane.

via UW takes first big step toward expanded medical school, leases Spokane building – Puget Sound Business Journal.

Share

Red state Idaho launches its own Obamacare exchange

Share

idaho-marketplace-570By Phil Galewitz
KHN

Idaho on Saturday becomes the latest state to launch its own health insurance exchange under the federal health law, with marketplace officials promising an easier shopping experience for consumers and greater responsiveness to insurance agents.

But the exchange, yourhealthidaho.org, will be challenged to do as well as the federal insurance exchange during the first open enrollment period that ended last March.

About 76,000 Idahoans signed up for private coverage at healthcare.gov, one of the most successful enrollments in any state.

While Idaho has some of the lowest insurance costs in the nation, its uninsured rate has traditionally exceeded the national average.

Idaho will be one of a dozen states, along with Washington, D.C., to run its own online marketplace this year — and the only one whose state government is completely controlled by Republicans.

In 2013, Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and powerful business leaders — who dislike Obamacare — persuaded the legislature to build a state exchange to keep control in Boise and save money for consumers. Continue reading

Share