Health Insurance Roundup, April 12, 2016


Backers Fight for Children’s Health Insurance in Arizona – ABC News

A fight is intensifying in the Arizona Legislature over the Senate leader’s refusal to restore a program providing health insurance to poor children, a stance that would maintain the state’s position as the only one in the nation that doesn’t participate in the plan.

Advocates who want the program restarted rallied at the Capitol on Monday in a last-ditch effort. Arizona froze its KidsCare program in 2010 to save money during a state budget crunch. It once covered more than 63,000 children, but fewer than 1,000 now have the insurance. 


Governor Cuomo announces new health insurance initiative for

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that insurers offering health insurance through the New York State of Health individual marketplace are now required to allow victims of domestic violence, or spousal abandonment, to enroll in insurance plans at any time of the year.

The New York State Department of Financial Services has created a new special enrollment period which will permit these individuals to enroll at any time outside of the standard November 1 through January 31 annual open enrollment period. 


How to Buy Health Insurance Without Getting Financially Sick – TheStreet

Since it’s rare for Americans to work at the same loyal employer for the entirety of their careers, many employees are opting to take charge of their own future by setting up businesses they can drive and control. The Internet offers many opportunities for entrepreneurs, such as the ability to work from home while raising a family, convenience, efficiency, closeness with sellers/buyers and the intrinsic value of being able to create a better balance between work and life. 


US health insurance boss Mark Bertolini pays workers to get more sleep

A US businessman has begun paying his workers to sleep in.

Encouraging your staff to get more sleep can be a boon to your business, said Mark Bertolini, chief executive officer of Connecticut-based health insurance company Aetna.

Sleep is “really important”, he told morning news program Squawk Box.

“Being present in the workplace and making better decisions has a lot to do with our business fundamentals.

“If [our staff] can prove they get 20 nights of sleep for seven hours or more in a row, we will give them $US25 a night, up $US500 a year,” said Mr Bertolini, who uses the wireless activity tracker Fitbit to monitor his employees’ sleep levels.

“You can’t be prepared if you’re half-asleep,” he said, citing research that better sleep can lead to bigger profits.

Working in collaboration with Duke University, Mr Bertolini said he had seen “69 minutes more a month of [worker] productivity on the part of us just investing in wellness and mindfulness”. 


Surovell: Virginia deserves hearings on planned health insurance mergers – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Guest-columnists

With the end of the 2016 General Assembly session, Virginians are receiving updates from their legislators about our accomplishments. What Virginians are not hearing about is our failure to expand Medicaid for many of the commonwealth’s 400,000 most vulnerable patients — or what we plan to do to prevent the impending mergers of four of the nation’s largest health insurers from driving up premiums for all Virginians and the cost of doing business in Virginia.

But make no mistake, both of these issues should have everyone concerned.

The failure to expand Medicaid raises serious questions about what is happening in our health care system. Thanks to unfounded resistance among conservative legislators to billions of dollars of federal monies, 30,000 new Virginia jobs and $180 million per biennium of immediate savings to Virginia taxpayers, and the willingness of hospitals to pay a fee, hundreds of thousands of Virginians will continue to fall into a significant coverage gap. 


Hand-surgery patients face huge bills despite having health insurance

When Mark Holland sliced the palm of his hand at the pool of his north Phoenix home, the jagged cut was so deep, a simple bandage would not stanch the flowing blood.

He went to HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center, the hospital closest to his home. It was part of his health insurer’s network, so he didn’t think twice about what it might cost as a surgeon stitched his hand.

That changed 10 days later during a checkup with the surgeon, Dr. Edward Reece of the Arizona Center for Hand Surgery.

The Phoenix center’s administrative staff explained that Reece did not accept Holland’s insurance plan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, as an in-network provider.

That puzzled Holland. 


DACA and health insurance enrollment help offered in Clovis | Fresno Bee

The Insure America Project will offer DACA and health insurance enrollment help from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 15 at Clovis Community College, 10309 N. Willow Ave.

The enrollment event will be in Academic Center Building One-Room 118. Parking is free.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process grants temporary relief from deportation for humanitarian reasons. The benefits include a Social Security number, a work permit and potential eligibility for health coverage.

People planning to fill out a DACA application should bring: photo identification; proof of arrival to the United States before age 16; proof of having completed an eligible education program; proof of continuous residence in the United States at least from June 15, 2007, until now; proof of being physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012. Also, the person must not have a serious criminal record, no driving under the influence and no domestic violence charges. 


20,000 poor people to get free Health Insurance | Health News 2016-04-10

At least 20,000 poor people in the East Akyem and Fanteakwa districts of the Eastern Region are to be registered for the National Health Insurance Scheme to enable them access free healthcare.

An exercise to gather data on the person in the area to establish their poverty levels, which is a requirement for the programme, has started in Ahomahomasu in the Fanteakwa District where more than 9,000 residents from over 15 communities are to be registered for free. 


Idaho health insurance exchange facing service challenges | Miami Herald

The staff at Your Health Idaho issued a bulletin to insurance agents on March 29, telling them what to do if a client cannot get treatment for a life-threatening illness or injury because of problems with health insurance.

“Please be sure to include MEDICAL URGENT in the subject line as well as a detailed description of the client’s situation in the message body,” the bulletin said.

There were six “medical urgent” emails sent to the exchange from the day the bulletin was sent out through Wednesday, April 6. The exchange has received 14 since the first of the year. 


Opinion: Vermont must address health insurance conundrum | Addison County Independent

I’ve been the chef/owner of 3 Squares Café in Vergennes for 9 years. At 3 Squares Café, we strive to create a working environment that values our employees. We hire new employees above the minimum wage and offer paid sick and vacation time. These are the kind of investments that allow us to attract talented upstart chefs and service team members that help us to provide the best quality food and service to our customers.

One thing we likely could never afford to provide for our employees is health insurance.

Health care costs are extremely unaffordable and are rising 6 percent each year. Most of my employees are young and struggling with the high costs of living in the state. Young people are graduating from a four-year college with enormous debt and struggling to find jobs in this state that can pay a livable salary and offer good benefits. 


Your April alarm clock – Time to review your health insurance cover?

It’s safe to say that Aussies across the country love value for money, but we’re often guilty of ignoring the more mundane of our expenses. Like when was the last time you thought about your hospital cover? It’s a regular cost coming straight out of the bank account every month, but it’s not something Australians review very often if at all. Some even just choose the family fund and don’t even consider their other options.

Regardless of your current situation, if you’re earning a decent income or you’re over 31 (or both), private hospital cover is a necessity. Aside from the fact that you’re covered in an emergency, for those over 31 it makes a lot of sense at tax time. 


There’s an upsurge of short-term health insurance coverage: Here’s why

HealthMarkets, a national insurance agency, reported short-term policy sales were up 150 percent in 2015 compared to 2013. But what is driving consumers to seek more limited, alternative health coverage with features largely banned by the Affordable Care Act?

Short-term health insurance is typically sold to help consumers shore up gaps in coverage. The plans do not cover pre-existing conditions for members, a limitation that is banned on ACA markets. In 2016, consumers who lack coverage that meets ACA standards face fees of $695 per adult, or 2.5 percent of their household income. 


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