Health

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

How to Keep Track of What Your Doctor Says: Bring Along a Note Taker

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News. Story produced in collaboration with USA Today It used to be difficult for Edith Couturier, an 85-year-old resident of the District of Columbia, to explain to her adult children on the West Coast all the details of her medical appointments. But now she doesn’t go alone – she takes along a volunteer “medical note-taker.” “There are four ears listening to what the doctor says,” Couturier says. That second set of ears belongs to Sharon Wolozin, …

Cost Puts New Drug for Hepatitis C Out of Reach for Many

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News staff writer, in association with The Daily Beast There’s a new drug regimen being touted as a potential cure for a dangerous liver virus that causes hepatitis C. But it costs $84,000 – or $1,000 a pill. And that price tag is prompting outrage from some consumers and a scramble by insurers to figure out which patients should get the drug – and who pays for it. Related: CDC: All Boomers Need Hepatitis C Test Called …

10 Least Expensive Insurance Markets

By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer, produced in collaboration with NPR People in much of Minnesota, northwestern Pennsylvania and Tucson, Ariz., are getting the best bargains from the health care law’s new insurance marketplaces: premiums half the price or less than what insurers in the country’s most expensive places are charging. The 10 regions with the lowest premiums in the nation also include Salt Lake City, all of Hawaii and eastern Tennessee. This ranking is based on the …

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 …