Health

The editorially independent news organization delivers important coverage of health care policy and politics for older Americans.

States Simplify Medicaid Sign-Ups

Getting on Medicaid has never been so easy. In the past two years, 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but even more have simplified sign-ups and renewals, according to a 50-state survey released Jan. 21. For example, 49 states this year take applications for Medicaid by telephone, up from 15 in 2013, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) All but one state …

Study: Health Plan Buyers Will Save Money If They Shop

You better shop around. For holiday gifts? No, for a 2016 health insurance plan on the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov. Millions of consumers who are enrolled this year could pay higher rates if they stay in the same health plan next year, according to a study released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Read the latest exercise and memory-sharpening tips, health care reform and more! — AARP Health Newsletter » The KFF analysis found that in nearly three-quarters of counties in 36 states served …

Surge in Statin Use Among Very Elderly Without Heart Trouble Raises Doubts

Many doctors are choosing a better-safe-than-sorry approach to heading off heart trouble in very elderly patients. Inexpensive statin drugs are given to millions of people to reduce cholesterol, even many who do not show signs of heart disease. But a recent study has found that seniors with no history of heart trouble are now nearly four times as likely — from 9 percent to 34 percent — to get those drugs than they were in 1999. Here’s the catch: For …

Poll: Americans Favor Government Action on Drug Prices

Most Americans value the prescription products the drug industry produces, but they sure don’t like the prices and want the federal government to take action, according to a new survey. Just over half of Americans (54 percent) are currently taking a prescription drug. While most say their drugs are easy to afford, consumers in general (72 percent) believe drug costs are unreasonable, according to the poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent part of …

Congress Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It’s a distinction that’s easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay. The vote follows overwhelming approval in the U. S. House of Representatives in March. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, said its House sponsor, …

New Regulations Would Require Modernizing Nursing Home Care

After nearly 30 years, the Obama administration wants to modernize the rules nursing homes must follow to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid payments. The hundreds of pages of proposed changes cover everything from meal times to use of antipsychotic drugs to staffing.  Some are required by the Affordable Care Act and other recent federal laws, as well as the president’s executive order directing agencies to simplify regulations and minimize the costs of compliance. “Today’s measures set high standards for quality …