health insurance

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The replacement of the Affordable Care Act, is currently making its way through Congress. As President Trump has said, healthcare "is an unbelievably complex subject," and the American Health Care Act is certainly raising concerns from those covered by Obamacare. Today,  we take your questions on how existing coverage could be affected if the AHCA is passed.

Susie Fagan / Kansas News Service

One of the cornerstones of Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to balance the budget is anticipated savings from a statewide health insurance pool for Kansas teachers.

The governor said that could save $40 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1 and $80 million a year after that.

But that’s not what the Legislative Post Audit Division discovered in its evaluation.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

One critical part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget-balancing plan is creation of a statewide health insurance pool that Kansas public school teachers would have to join.

The governor’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year counts on $80 million a year in health care savings based on an efficiency study by Alvarez & Marsal consulting firm.

But some legislators, including Republicans, are skeptical.

“There’s a big difference between theory and practicality,” says Rep. Larry Campbell of Olathe, chairman of the K-12 Education Budget Committee.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Dr. Damon Heybrock’s office doesn’t look like a traditional medical clinic.

Heybrock finished converting a two-story row house into a medical practice in September, putting exam tables in the bedrooms and a centrifuge for lab tests next to the kitchen sink.

Original pieces by Kansas City artists cover the walls of the clinic in Westwood, which Heybrock named Health Studio KC.

The look isn’t the only thing that’s different about his practice — so is the payment method. 

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Tuesday is this year's open enrollment deadline for buying health coverage through the insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

According to local health insurance brokers, the Trump administration's push to repeal or replace the ACA, has not impacted the number of people calling to sign up for Obamacare health coverage.

However, people are expressing anger about the cost of plans.

Courtesy Jill Wagner

Jill Wagner’s life changed the day her then-10-month-old son, Dean, was hospitalized after a series of seizures.

Tests revealed that Dean had a rare genetic condition that put him at risk for a host of medical issues. By the time he was discharged, little Dean already had a handful of diagnoses, including one for autism. Doctors weren’t sure if he would ever walk, talk or read.

For the next eight months, Wagner, a businesswoman and former professor who lives in Salina, Kansas, tried to navigate the complex world of health insurance for applied behavior analysis, or ABA.

Kansas families who buy health insurance through the online marketplace for 2017 could pay $20,000 or more if they have serious medical problems, according to federal data.

Most families likely won’t pay that much because they qualify for subsidies, but the information shows that even low-premium plans can become costly.

HealthCare.gov

Kansans who get their health insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act website can’t buy yet — but they can look.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has opened what agency officials call a “window shopping” option on healthcare.gov, ahead of the official Nov. 1 open enrollment start date.

A green button on the site’s homepage allows users to “Preview 2017 Plans and Prices” by entering their ZIP code and some personal information.

Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015

The uninsured rates in Kansas and Missouri continue to drop.

But they’re declining faster in states that have expanded Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities.

New data out Tuesday from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Kansas’ uninsured rate dropped to 9.1 percent in 2015, down from 10.2 percent the year before and 12.3 percent in 2013.

U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

A new analysis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says headlines about anticipated premium increases on the Obamacare health insurance marketplace overlook an important point: Most Americans, including two-thirds of Kansans and three-quarters of Missourians, still will be able to find a plan for $75 a month or less.

Missouri Department of Insurance

Starting in 2018, Missouri will no longer be the only state in the country barred from collecting information on health insurance rates.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday signed legislation requiring health insurers to file proposed rates with the Missouri Department of Insurance and the department to determine if they’re reasonable or not.

If the department finds them to be unreasonable because they’re excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory, the law authorizes it to disclose that to the public, which can then comment on the proposed rates.

Susie Fagan / KHI

Supporters of Medicaid expansion are kicking off a campaign to mobilize Kansas voters on the issue. Federal tax rules prohibit the nonprofit Alliance for a Healthy Kansas from engaging in direct political activity, so the group is mounting a vigorous educational campaign through a series of community meetings across the state. 

The cost of a premature birth was the beginning of a controversy involving the price of health care, AOL’s CEO and the baby's mother. The dispute sparked a national debate about the value of a human life.

Guests:

Jessica Hill / AP

Missouri became the first state to go on record opposing a proposed merger of insurance giants Humana and Aetna, saying the combination would create an anticompetitive market in the state for various lines of insurance.

A ruling late Tuesday by the Missouri Department of Insurance gives the two companies 30 days to address the department’s concerns. Otherwise, it said it would block them from offering individual, small-group and group Medicare Advantage plans in Missouri if the merger goes through.

Bigstock

The departure of UnitedHealthcare could leave Kansans shopping on the federal online marketplace with only one choice of insurer, but Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer is working to bring in more.

Deputy Commissioner Clark Shultz says Selzer has for several months been in talks with other insurance companies about joining the marketplace in 2017, and those discussions appear close to yielding results.

“It’s too early to announce that and we don’t have it secured, but there are some very positive developments,” Shultz says.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A recent national report credits the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, for helping to reduce racial and ethnic inequalities in health insurance coverage. But Kansas has not made as much progress as other states.

Wikimedia Commons

Employees of Jackson County will likely see an increase in health insurance premiums in 2016.

The proposed changes were discussed at the Jackson County Legislature’s meeting on Monday. An across-the-board increase of 14.4 percent is expected next year, though some employees may end up paying less.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Hundreds of uninsured citizens flooded into Bartle Hall in Kansas City Saturday for one reason: to see a doctor.

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics collaborated with KC C.A.R.E. to bring 1,300 doctors, nurses and other volunteers to the city for a one-day free clinic.

The most common ailments doctors saw were high blood pressure, complications due to diabetes and severe dental problems. 

The top-of-the-ticket races may be commanding the most attention in this year’s Kansas election, but significant issues also are in play in some of the down-ballot contests.

Kevin Brown

 

Wichita physician Josh Umbehr has never understood the traditional model of health care reimbursement — the one in which doctors and hospitals fill out pages of forms to bill a patient's insurance company for everything from a $3 test to a $30,000 surgery.

“You don’t have car insurance for gasoline," Umbehr said in a recent phone interview. "Why would you have health insurance for family practice?”

With that philosophy in mind, Umbehr has operated on a kind of service plan for the human body since he opened his practice in 2010.

Anna Gorman / Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News

As soon as Deb Emerson, a former high school teacher from Oroville, Calif., bought a health plan in January through the state’s insurance exchange, she felt overwhelmed.

She couldn’t figure out what was covered and what wasn’t. Why weren’t her anti-depressant medications included?  Why did she have to pay $60 to see a doctor? The insurance jargon - deductible, co-pay, premium, co-insurance - was like a foreign language. What did it mean?

Missouri will allow health insurance companies to continue offering policies that otherwise would have been canceled under the terms of the new federal health care law.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that the state will let insurers sell individual and small-group policies in 2014 that were to be canceled because they didn't meet federal coverage requirements taking effect next year. 

CC

As part of KCUR’s ongoing reporting on health care in the Kansas City area, we wanted to know more about your experiences with gaps in health insurance.

We reached out on social media and on the air, asking Kansas Citians about their longest breaks from insurance. On Twitter, we asked people to tell us through the #TellKCUR hashtag.

The head of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and two members met Wednesday with President Obama to discuss the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a moderate Republican who has generally supported the law, was invited but chose not to attend. NAIC President Jim Donelon, Connecticut’s insurance commissioner, organized the meeting.

Praeger said she wasn’t trying to distance herself from the controversy surrounding the law’s problem-plagued rollout.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the first official tally of how many Americans signed up for health insurance through the new exchanges during their first month of operation.

Enough Kansans have purchased a plan through the website, to fill an entire Kansas town—specifically, the town of Hartford, population 371. That figure led Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts to declare the health law a failure.

A new study from a non-profit research group says predictions of huge premium increases when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in January are unfounded. 

Kansas is one of 10 states the Rand Corporation studied in detail. The study predicts that by 2016, only 6.6 percent of Kansans too young for Medicare will be uninsured. Without the new law, that figure would be more than 14 percent. 

KHI News Service

In a little less than two months, Kansans will be able to begin shopping for individual health insurance plans through the new, online marketplace called the exchange. Most of the plans will be sold by three companies.

According to Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, they'll be the same three companies that provide the bulk of health insurance in Kansas now: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Blue Cross of Kansas City, and Coventry.

How Obamacare Might Change Your Private Health Insurance

Apr 25, 2013

After the passing of the Affordable Care Act, confusion about the future of health insurance in our country has become the norm. But as the legislation comes into play in the next year, everyone from private health insurance companies to employers providing health care to their employees need to be well versed on the upcoming changes.


A special committee of transportation officials is still reviewing the amount of money MoDOT workers and State Troopers pay for health insurance. 

Wendell Potter, a former vice president of CIGNA, says that health insurers make promises they have no intention of keeping, flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and skew political debate with multibillion-dollar PR campaigns to mislead the press and public.

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