Health

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

Report: 3.3 Million Americans Enroll in Private ACA Health Plans

By Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer Nearly 3.3 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance plans since October through the new online marketplaces created by the health law, with enrollment continuing to surge through January, an Obama administration report said Wednesday. But the number of young adults signing up continues to lag expectations, which could impact insurance premiums next year. Insurance industry officials have been closely watching the mix of customers to make sure they get …

Congress Moves to Overhaul Medicare Doctor Payments

By Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer The bipartisan leadership of three Senate and House committees introduced legislation Feb. 6 to overhaul the way Medicare pays physicians. The package, which does not specify how it would be paid for, would repeal the current system, which sets Medicare physician payment rates through a 1997 formula based on economic growth and known as the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR).  Physicians would receive a 0.5 percent increase for each of the next five years …

10 Most Expensive Insurance Markets

By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News If you are buying health coverage in the Colorado ski resort towns, the Connecticut suburbs of New York City or a bunch of otherwise low-cost rural regions of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada, you live in the most expensive insurance marketplaces under the new health law. The 10 most expensive regions also include Alaska and Vermont and large parts of Wisconsin and Wyoming. The ranking is based on the lowest price “silver” plan, which is …

Now You Have Direct Access to Your Lab Reports

By Ankita Rao, Kaiser Health News Calling your doctor to get lab results might be a thing of the past: a new federal rule will allow patients to have direct access to their completed laboratory reports. The regulation was announced Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services. It amends privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) that required patients to get their lab results from …

Medicare Lists Best, Worst Hospitals for Hip and Knee Replacements

By Jordan Rau, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News Medicare has begun tracking the outcomes of hip and knee replacement surgeries, identifying 95 hospitals where elderly patients were more likely to suffer significant setbacks. The government also named 97 hospitals where patients tended to have the smoothest recoveries. The analysis, which was released last week, is the latest part of the government’s push to improve quality at the nation’s hospitals instead of simply paying Medicare patients’ bills. Medicare already assesses hospital …

Will Court Block Insurers from Dropping Doctors?

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News In a decision that could have national implications, a federal judge in Connecticut temporarily blocked UnitedHealthcare late Thursday from dropping an estimated 2,200 physicians from its Medicare Advantage plan in that state. While the judge’s decision affects only the physicians in Fairfield and Hartford Counties who brought suit, several other medical groups are considering filing similar actions. “This is very good news from Connecticut,” said Dr. Sam L. Unterricht, president of the Medical Society …