You have insurance, now what?

Share

Blank checklist on clipboard, with large red ticks, and room for text.By Britt Olson
Coverage is Here
Public Health – Seattle & King County

Maybe you have never had health insurance. Or perhaps it has been so long since you were last covered that you don’t recall how to use your policy or what to expect when you do.

Enrolling in an insurance plan is just the starting point for your journey through the health system.

To smooth your trip through the medical complex, and to maximize the benefits of your new insurance policy, here are some tips:  Continue reading

Share

Health news headlines — April 8th

Share

Newspaper printer print

Share

Teledentistry: When connecting with a dentist doesn’t mean an office visit

Share

By Daniela Hernandez
KHN Staff Writer

APR 07, 2014

This KHN story was produced in collaboration with the 

Inside a South Los Angeles classroom filled with plastic dinosaurs, building blocks, stuffed animals and Dr. Seuss books, Mireya Rodriguez counts Hendryk Vaquero’s teeth and looks for cavities.

teledentistry 4 300

Hendryk Rodriguez already has nine stainless steel crowns, multiple fillings and signs of infection. This is the second time the four-year-old has been examined by a dental hygienist (Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN).

At just 4 years old, he already has nine stainless steel crowns and multiple fillings, and his gums show signs of inflammation and infection.

Since a check-up more than three months ago, he’s lost a couple of teeth, including a capped tooth his mom pulled out after it started bleeding.

“Pero no llore,” said the boy, assuring Rodriguez in Spanish he didn’t cry.  Continue reading

Share

Rocky Mountain High or Reefer Madness? Legal pot in Colorado comes with risks

Share

Cannabis_leaf_marijuana_potA reporter returns to his hometown and confronts the new reality of legalized marijuana.

By Marshall Allen
ProPublica, April 7, 2014

This story was co-published with The Cannabist

I walked through clouds of marijuana smoke Friday night to get to the Denver Nuggets basketball game.

The sweet smell lingering in the air reminded me less of a family event and more of the time I saw AC/DC on “The Razor’s Edge” tour at the old McNichols Sports Arena.

I grew up in Colorado, but it’s been a while since I lived in the state. When I returned for a recent conference, I found that a place settled by the Gold Rush is now mad about reefer.

In 2012, Colorado voters became the first in the nation to approve recreational pot use. The good times rolled out Jan. 1, when stores started selling it.

I’ve never tried pot, but I graduated from the University of Colorado — Boulder, which is famous for its annual “4/20″ public pot parties. At CU, you can practically get a contact high walking to class.

But I saw more public pot use in my two-day visit to Lower Downtown Denver than in years spent at Boulder.

It’s supposed to be illegal to smoke or consume pot in public. But then the day after the game, while jogging down the Speer Boulevard bike path, I passed a guy lounging under a tree lavishing his affections on a joint.

Anyone over 21 can walk into a dispensary and load up on bud, marijuana baked goods and candy. Continue reading

Share

Decoding the high-stakes debate over Medicare Advantage cuts

Share

United States Capitol BuildingBy Jay Hancock
KHN Staff Writer

APR 07, 2014

This KHN story was produced in collaboration with 

In high-visibility ad campaigns, insurers maintain that reduced payment rates, which are expected to be announced Monday, will do real harm. What should beneficiaries expect?  Continue reading

Share

Health news headlines — April 7th

Share

Newspaper printer print

Share

Health news headlines — April 6th

Share

Newspaper printer print

Share

Women’s Health – Week 31: Infertility

Share

tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Infertility is the term health care providers use for women and men who are unable to get pregnant after at least 1 year of trying. Women who are able to get pregnant but who cannot carry a pregnancy to term (birth) may also be considered infertile.

Infertility is a complex problem–it does not have a single cause because getting pregnant is a multi-step chain of events.  Continue reading

Share

Judge throws out murder charge in Mississippi fetal harm case

Share

Blue Pregnant BellyThe ruling means that the woman whose drug use had her facing a possible life term can at most be charged with manslaughter in the death of her stillborn daughter.

By Nina Martin
ProPublica

A Mississippi judge has thrown out murder charges against a young woman in the 2006 death of her stillborn child, a significant setback for prosecutors in a controversial case that has been closely followed both by women’s rights groups and those interested in establishing rights for the unborn.

Rennie Gibbs, who was 16 when she gave birth to her stillborn daughter Samiya, had been indicted for “depraved heart murder” after traces of a cocaine byproduct were found in the baby’s blood.

The charge — defined under Mississippi law as an act “eminently dangerous to others…regardless of human life” — carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

But Lowndes County Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens, in a two-page ruling held that under Mississippi law Gibbs could not be charged with murder.  Continue reading

Share

Co-op health plans see early success

Share

coOp_health_logo_RGBBy Eric Whitney

POLSON, Mont. – The names of the big health insurance companies are familiar – Blue Cross, Aetna, United Healthcare.

But what about CoOportunity Health, or Health Republic Insurance of New York?

These are among 23 new health insurance companies that started under the Affordable Care Act.

They’re all nonprofit, member-owned cooperatives, and the aim is to create more competition and drive prices down.  Continue reading

Share

Health news headlines — April 5th

Share

An electronic screen showing the NEWS

Share

3 million gained coverage through Medicaid from October to February

Share

ACA health reform logoBy Phil Galewitz
KHN

The number of low-income people enrolled in Medicaid rose by 3 million to 62.3 million from October through February as more Americans joined the state-federal insurance program through state and federal online insurance marketplaces, according to a report released Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

States that expanded Medicaid eligibility under the health law saw an average 8 percent increase in enrollment, with enrollment leaping almost 35 percent in Oregon and almost 34 percent in West Virginia.  Continue reading

Share

Top academic hospital begins to tackle readmissions problem

Share

Refresh ThumbBy Rachel Gotbaum

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a highly regarded teaching hospital in Boston, but in 2012, the hospital found out it had one of the highest rates of readmissions among Medicare patients in the country.

That meant federal fines of more than $1 million—and a lot of soul searching for the staff, says Dr. Julius Yang, the head of quality for the hospital.

“Patients coming to our hospital, getting what we believed was high quality care, were coming back at an alarmingly high rate,” says Yang.  Continue reading

Share

Q: Does my Swedish health plan meet ACA requirements?

Share

Swedish FlagBy Michelle Andrews
KHN

Q. My husband and children are Swedish citizens, and I have a permanent green card to live and work in Sweden. Therefore all of us are covered by the Swedish national health care system. For now we reside in California. Is it mandatory that we purchase health insurance here?

A. It may not be necessary.  Continue reading

Share