Removing Barriers to Exchanging Electronic Health Records Would Help Consumers

  Over the past five years, taxpayers have doled out over $30 billion in bonus payments to push hospitals and doctors’ offices to switch from paper to electronic medical records. Now nearly all hospitals and over half of all office-based doctors have gone digital; but much of that electronic information doesn’t flow freely between health care providers because their separate software systems do not communicate — and consumers are losing out. Consumers win when electronic health records (EHR) systems talk …

Feds Propose New Health Insurance Consumer Protections

En español | Have you ever scheduled a medical procedure, made sure your health insurance was covering it as in-network — but later were surprised to receive an out-of-network bill from one of your health providers? Or, have you ever enrolled in a health plan available in your area, but then, when it came time to seek needed medical care from a specialist, you discover that none were available both in-network and within a reasonable distance from your home? Fortunately …

Poll: If Court Rules Against Obamacare Subsidies, Most Want Them Restored

A new poll finds that most people think Congress or states should act to restore health insurance subsidies if the Supreme Court decides later this year they are not permitted in states where the federal government is running the marketplace. The court in March is set to hear King v. Burwell, a lawsuit arguing that the wording of the Affordable Care Act means that financial assistance with premiums is available in only the 13 states that created and are running …

AARP Report Finds Sky-High Drug Prices

Escalating drug prices have been making the news in recent months. In particular, the exorbitant price tags of two brand-name drugs used to treat Hepatitis C — Solvaldi and Harvoni — have ignited intense controversy. I talked with Leigh Purvis, director of health services research, AARP Public Policy Institute, and coauthor of AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report: Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans, 2006-2013 about the trend in rising drug prices and what …

Number of Health Plans to Grow in Second Year of Obamacare

By Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer The number of health insurance companies offering plans in the marketplaces this fall will increase by 25 percent, giving consumers more choices for coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Sept. 23. When the marketplace enrollment reopens in November, 77 new insurers will be offering coverage in the 44 states for which HHS had data, which includes the 36 states that use the federal marketplace and eight states that …

Head of Connecticut Health Exchange to Lead Healthcare.gov

By Jeff Cohen, WNPR, and Diane Webber, Kaiser Health News This story is part of a partnership that includes WNPR, NPR and Kaiser Health News. Kevin Counihan, the head of Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace, will be the new CEO of healthcare.gov, the website that 36 states use to sell insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the administration announced Tuesday. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell tapped Counihan to lead the site as part of a revamped …