Posts Tagged ‘Get Covered

29
Jan
15

Lowered Healthcare Costs? Thanks, ObamaCare

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Tara Culp-Ressler: How The Obama Administration Is Getting Serious About Lowering Health Costs

The Obama administration unveiled an ambitious plan on Monday that will make historic changes to the way that doctors get paid. The ultimate goal is to tie more of doctors’ payments to the quality of care they provide, hopefully driving down the trillions of dollars that the U.S. currently spends on health services every year. The reforms are targeted at Medicare, the government program that provides coverage for Americans over the age of 64. Most Medicare providers currently get paid through what’s called a “fee for service” system. They’re paid a flat free for every test or procedure they perform, regardless of whether those services actually improve their patients’ health. Now, the administration wants to shift the program so that more of its payments are tied to health outcomes.

Essentially, that means providers will be rewarded for keeping their patients healthy, and penalized for unnecessary services that don’t advance that goal. Proponents of payment reform are encouraged by the move — which they see as a serious step toward creating a health care system that’s based on the value, rather than the sheer volume, of services. The Affordable Care Act has been slowly moving in this direction over the past few years. The health law created alternative payment models — called “Accountable Care Organizations,” or ACOs — to incentivize providers to work together to improve patient care and cut down on costs. So far, there’s been some evidence that ACOs are successfully improving the quality of health care for Medicare patients. Some are also starting to generate cost savings. If ACOs save enough money, the participating providers earn bonuses, a goal that about a fourth of of them hit last year.

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05
Jan
15

A Life Saved. Thanks, ObamaCare

ObamaCare Bumper Sticker

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Noam N. Levey: Obamacare’s Guaranteed Health Coverage Changes Lives In First Year

Like many working Americans, Lisa Gray thought she had good health insurance. That was until she was diagnosed with leukemia in mid-2013, and the self-employed businesswoman made a startling discovery: Her health plan didn’t cover the chemotherapy she needed. “I thought I was going to die,” Gray, 62, said recently, recalling her desperate scramble to get lifesaving drugs. it was a new health plan through the Affordable Care Act that Gray credits with saving her life. The plan, which started Jan. 1, 2014, gave her access to the recommended chemotherapy. Her cancer went into remission in the fall. It is now one year since the federal law began guaranteeing coverage to most Americans for the first time, even if they are sick.

For many Americans like Gray — who were stuck in plans that didn’t cover vital services or who couldn’t get insurance because of a preexisting medical condition — the law has had a personal, even life-changing impact. “A couple years earlier, I think I would have been done,” Gray said. But the insurance guarantee — which includes billions of dollars in aid to low- and middle-income Americans — has extended coverage to about 10 million people who previously had no insurance, surveys indicate. That cut the nation’s uninsured rate more than 20% last year, the largest drop in half a century. The law also changed coverage for millions more people who were in plans like Gray’s that capped or excluded benefits, a once-common feature of health insurance that is now banned.

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18
Dec
14

Millions Now Have Health Coverage. Thanks, ObamaCare

Image: Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Affordable Care Act

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Zeke J Miller: Number of Uninsured Americans Near Historic Low

New federal government data shows the percentage of Americans without health insurance was at or near historic lows this year following the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, and appears certain to fall to record levels next year. The data released Thursday from the National Center for Health Statistics’ National Health Interview Survey found that 11.3 percent of Americans were without coverage in the second quarter of 2014, down from 13.1 percent in the first quarter and 14.4 percent throughout 2013. An analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisers finds the drop in the uninsured to be the largest in four decades,

amounting to roughly 9.7 million Americans getting insurance, consistent with other Affordable Care Act estimates. The new data does not include the nearly 2.5 million who have newly selected or re-enrolled for coverage in the latest round of open enrollment which began last month. Nor does it include those who’ve gained coverage in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program since the second quarter—including 400,000 from September to October, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—as more states expand access to the program with federal money under the law.

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05
Dec
14

The Freedom To Retire Early And Have Good Health? Thanks, ObamaCare

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Amy Lynn Smith: Obamacare Gives Ohio Man The Freedom To Retire Early And Improve His Health

Jim worked 37 years for the same company, typically putting in 50-hour weeks that included travel and working weekends. It started taking a toll and he says his health began to decline. That’s why he decided to retire at age 59 — something he could not have done without the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. “June 28, 2012 was one of the happiest days of my life, when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act,” Jim says. “Without the ACA, I could not get insurance at any price because my wife is a cancer survivor — she had leukemia 15 years ago —

and the only way I could get insurance was through work.” His wife’s leukemia was treated successfully and neither one of them has any chronic health conditions, but that didn’t stop insurance companies from turning people away or charging exorbitant prices because of pre-existing conditions before the ACA. Jim retired in March 2014 after doing his homework about the plans available on the insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov. The plan Jim chose would have cost $1,200 per month to cover him and his wife, but with a tax subsidy their premium costs just $127 per month.

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15
Nov
14

Affordable Health Insurance For All? Thanks, Obamacare

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