21 States Still Debating Affordable Health Coverage

For five years Michele from Montana, didn’t have access to affordable health care. She didn’t go to the doctor because she couldn’t afford it; this scared her. When health care laws began to change, Michele began to dream about what it would be like to have health coverage again, and how she would take better care of herself. But when many others gained access to affordable care last year, Michele did not. Instead, she was one of millions of hard-working Americans …

Food Labeling Requirements Could Make Older Americans Rethink Dining Out

It’s no secret that older Americans’ waistlines are expanding. From 2004 to 2013, the proportion of adults ages 50 and older who were obese increased 21 percent, from 25 to 31 percent of the population*. Associated with chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, rising levels of obesity are taking a toll on individual health and quality of life, as well as health care costs. Among all age groups, obesity accounts for approximately 21 percent of all health spending. One contributor to …

Where Health Insurance Prices Are Highest and Lowest

In health insurance prices, as in the weather, Alaska and the Sun Belt are extremes. This year Alaska is the most expensive health insurance market for people who do not get coverage through their employers, while Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Tucson, Ariz., are among the very cheapest. In this second year of the insurance marketplaces created by the federal health law, the most expensive premiums are in rural spots around the nation: Wyoming, rural Nevada, patches of inland California and …

Improving Quality Measurement and e-Health in Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services: The TEFT Demonstration

Many Americans with personal care needs receive services in their own homes to help them with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation. But the quality of care provided in private homes often is not measured. The medical community is beginning to adopt electronic health records: health information in a digital format that can be shared with providers. Unfortunately, these records may not be helpful to consumers, especially those with long-term care needs, in managing their own care. …

Fitness Is for Much More Than Weight Loss

Well, many of us have done it again. We promised ourselves that we wouldn’t overeat during the holidays. But those savory dishes just kept calling our names. And, on top of that, somewhere along the way many of us got too busy and fell off the exercise wagon. Regardless of what your weakness has been, the good thing now is that we all have another chance. Regardless of age, doctors say, exercise has benefits for all of us. So with …

New 529 Plan Created for People With Disabilities

Tax-friendly 529 savings plans no longer will be just for college. Legislation recently signed by President Barack Obama will allow states to set up similar savings programs to benefit those with disabilities without jeopardizing their federal benefits, such as Medicaid. Money invested in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account — sometimes also called a 529A account — can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified expenses, including education, housing, transportation, health care, employment training and legal fees. “It …