Posts Tagged ‘insurance

07
Feb
15

Uninsured Rate Falls Again. Thanks, ObamaCare

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Dylan Scott: This Chart: Uninsured Rate Drops Under Obamacare

The percentage of uninsured Americans has fallen from 13.9 percent to 10.2 percent since Obamacare coverage took effect, according to new data from the Urban Institute. The difference is even more pronounced in states that expanded Medicaid under the law. In those states, the uninsured rate dropped from 12.6 percent to 8.4 percent from the second quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2014.

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Michael Karpman: QuickTake: Uninsurance Rate Down 25 Percent For Working Adults And 31 Percent For Low-Income Workers Since September 2013

Recent HRMS data show an estimated 10.6 million adults ages 18 to 64 gained coverage between September 2013, just before the first open enrollment period for the ACA’s health insurance Marketplaces, and September 2014, just before the second open enrollment period (Long et al. 2014). Between September 2013 and September 2014, the uninsurance rate fell 3.4 percentage points (95% CI [2.0, 4.9]; figure 1) for working nonelderly adults. The share of working nonelderly adults without insurance declined from an estimated 13.6 percent just before the first open enrollment period to 10.2 percent in September 2014, a 25.3 percent decline.

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03
Feb
15

A Life Saved Thanks To ObamaCare

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Amy Lynn Smith: Young Woman With A Heart Condition Can Finally Get The Care She Needs Thanks To The ACA

When Jae Stewart was 14 years old, she collapsed in the gym while playing basketball. The doctors said she had a heart murmur and sent her on her way, but little did Jae know this was the beginning of a lifetime of heart trouble. Jae had her first heart attack at age 21 and another after a serious car accident a few years later. She had her first stroke before she was 30. Jae didn’t have insurance at all for many years. She’s an occupational therapist, but in 2012, when she had her stroke, her employer didn’t provide health insurance. She was sent to one of the best heart hospitals in Texas, where everyone thought she’d get great care. But that’s not what happened About 15 minutes later a guy walks in and tells me I’m being discharged.

I couldn’t even walk, because every time I got up my blood pressure would bottom out or go through the ceiling. I didn’t even have a ride home. I couldn’t believe they were going to discharge me after I had a stroke. The guy told me if I felt I needed to be there I had to go back through the ER to get admitted again. So Jae is enormously grateful for Obamacare. She’s been covered since early 2014. Her premium this year is $402 per month because she doesn’t qualify for a tax subsidy, but her other costs are low. Her annual deductible is $1,000 and her out-of-pocket maximum is $3,250. She pays $25 to see her doctor and $50 for specialists. Best of all, her prescription medications have zero co-pay. Not only does this make Jae’s healthcare costs more manageable, it means she can afford to see her doctors regularly so they can figure out exactly what’s going on with her heart.

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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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18
Jan
15

ObamaCare: Making History Every Day

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Tara Culp-Ressler: Obamacare Has Reversed A Negative Trend. Researchers Call It ‘Remarkable’

For the first time in a decade, the number of people struggling to pay their medical bills has started to decline, according to a new survey released on Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund. The researchers attributed the historic drop to the number of people gaining insurance under the health care reform law. Between 2012 and 2014 — as Obamacare’s main coverage expansion took effect — the Commonwealth researchers found that the number of people who had issues paying for health treatment dropped from 41 percent to 35 percent. Over the same time period, the people who skipped out on health services because they couldn’t afford them declined from 43 percent to 36 percent

In a press release, the researchers described the declines as “remarkable.” This marks the first time since 2005, when Commonwealth started surveying people on these questions, that the number of Americans struggling to afford medical care hasn’t increased. Commonwealth’s findings, which also documented a drop in the number of Americans going without insurance, track closely with other surveys that have reported declines in the uninsured rate under Obamacare. The number of Americans without health care was reduced by about 25 percent last year, which means that between eight million and eleven million people have gained coverage.

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Margot Sanger-Katz: Signs of A Decline In Financial Distress Connected To Medical Bills

After rising for a decade, the number of Americans experiencing financial distress from their medical bills has started to decline, a new survey has found. The result provides new evidence that the Affordable Care Act, by providing uninsured people with health insurance, is also improving their financial security, a major goal of the law. The large telephone survey, from the New York-based health research group the Commonwealth Fund, has been asking people about their medical bills every few years for a decade. In each survey through 2012, a higher percentage of Americans said they struggled to pay their medical bills, were paying off medical debt or had been contacted by a collection agency.

The most recent installment of the survey, the first since the health law’s major provisions kicked in, shows a reversal in that trend. The survey also found that fewer people were avoiding doctors’ visits because of concerns about cost. But Commonwealth also found that, over all, even people who had insurance before 2014 were having fewer problems with medical bills than they were before. That change may reflect rules in the health law that require individual insurance plans to cover a minimum set of benefits for every customer.

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05
Jan
15

A Life Saved. Thanks, ObamaCare

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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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04
Jan
15

Obamacare: The Single Most Important Anti-Smoking Initiative

Michael Hiltzik (Los Angeles Times)

by Desertflower

Did you know that the Affordable Care Act may be the single most important anti-smoking initiative in the country?

Of course not. That’s because Obamacare’s supposed friends, the Democrats, have been too craven to talk about its benefits, while its enemies, the Republicans, want only to depict it as a “disaster” without addressing its many provisions.

“If the ACA’s tobacco-cessation provisions are fully implemented, they could turn out to be one of its greatest legacies.”

– Tim McAfee, et al, New England Journal of Medicine

But the New England Journal of Medicine in its latest issue sets the record straight. The authors, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Wisconsin, point out that the poor uptake of smoking cessation programs has much to do with their expense and the only spotty coverage by health insurance plans. They say ACA makes this coverage mandatory, without co-pays, cost sharing, or the requirement that doctors get prior authorization from insurers before prescribing. (See accompanying graphic.)

The anti-smoking initiative is just one of many provisions of the ACA that are little-known but likely to have a significant impact on Americans’ health. That underscores the fatuousness of much of the anti-Obamacare campaign. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expresses glee at the prospect that the Supreme Court may yet “take down” the law because he doesn’t like anything that has President Obama’s name on it, these are the babies he’s willing to throw out with the bathwater.

Under the ACA, the NEJM authors write, smoking cessation must be treated as one of the preventive services that private health plans are required to cover without cost-sharing or prior authorization.

THIS INFURIATES ME!! Not this wonderful provision, but the glee at which people like McConnell and other Republicans hope that this signature and historic achievement for the American people, gets gutted! FOLLOW THE FUCKING MONEY….these RWNJ’s care nothing about people. they never did. Never will. They care about money and access and greed…and sucking every last breath from ordinary people just so they can have even MORE! Because to them, this is a win/lose game. If you win, THEY LOSE…and we can’t have that now, can we? Rather than we all want the best for ALL Americans, they don’t subscribe to this. Not even close.

Why do I say this? What the blue fucking blazes set ME off?? I was a smoker. I smoked for 38 years of my life and i loved it and hated it. I was killing myself slowly and I felt guilty as sin for forking over more and more murder money for the tobacco company every time I wanted to feed my addiction. I knew it was bad..I wanted to stop but I was so afraid…thinking of how hard it would be…or gaining some weight…or, or, or…the days went to weeks, weeks to months, months to years and I somehow excused myself. I was a “polite” smoker. Never in my car. Never in the house, Never around those that didn’t smoke. There were never ashtrays all over the place, overflowing with the cancerous remains….I was a one ashtray girl and cleaned up after myself. In fact, I got so good at this deceit, that most people had no idea I smoked at all. But I knew. I was ashamed and embarrassed to be so beholden to this toxic mess. Did you know that these tobacco companies but in things like oven cleaner, DDT and a shit ton of awful, awful stuff. (Cigarette Ingredients)

But look here ( from this piece)

The CDC estimates that about 42 million Americans, or 18% of all adults, are smokers. The highest rate belongs, as it happens, to McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, at 28.3%.

The ACA takes special aim at the Medicaid population. That’s wise, because smoking in the U.S. is especially prevalent among lower-income groups. The law makes no-fee smoking cessation programs and medications a part of Medicaid for new enrollees in those states that have accepted Medicaid expansion, prohibits states from excluding smoking medications from traditional Medicaid, and requires smoking cessation coverage for pregnant women in traditional Medicaid. That’s key, because 20% of pregnant women on Medicaid use tobacco, according to a 2012 study by researchers from UC Berkeley and UC San Diego.

Mitch McConnell would be SO FINE with the people of KY continuing to kill themselves! Continuing to give the tobacco companies money they really don’t have to spend….THIS is what makes me livid!

I have to tell you what made me stop. My son. My son and the perfect storm of his pleading and my readiness to take responsibility for my health and no longer making excuses. I need to tell you something else. It wasn’t hard. After 38 years…it wasn’t hard. I chose to vape my way off nicotine for good and I literally weaned myself off nicotine in about 3 months. None of the side effects that we all worry about…just relief and me being proud of myself and feeling better than anyone can imagine.

So when I see just how far these people (I use that term loosely) would go to have this all go away, AND BE HAPPY ABOUT IT! I want to scream.

America needs to Wake Up…those that feel “guilty” for voting for Republicans because they ” always have”…need to take a cold shower, admit they fucked up badly, and vow to be smarter and more aware in 2 more years. This is UNSAT. Unsatisfactory. Unacceptable. Unfuckingbelieveable that people could ever take pleasure in other people’s pain or want to keep them doing the very things that hurt them and not let them be better or flourish for the rest of their good long lives.

THIS is what pissed me off tonight. That these people hate this President and the American people SO MUCH, they would hope for the demise of something that would help people stop smoking.

If this doesn’t anger you into stopping, into thinking, into honest evaluation of so many things….I don’t know what will. This says they care NOTHING about you.

Your move.




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