Need new health insurance NOW?

If you experience certain life changes, you don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment in November to enroll in affordable health coverage on or your state’s marketplace. You have 60 days after the following events to apply for a Special Enrollment Period and enroll:

• Moving to a new zip code or county
• Getting married or divorced
• Having a baby, adopting or becoming a foster parent
• Becoming a U.S. citizen or getting a green card

You have 60 days before or after the following to enroll: 

• Losing your health insurance from your job
• Turning 26 and aging off your parent’s health plan

And if you are experiencing domestic violence and want to apply for your own health plan, you can do so at any time.

Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods at or call 1-800-318-2596.


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ER patients often don't grasp discharge orders

Patients often fail to fully comprehend the treatment they receive during an emergency department visit or recall instructions for their care after they leave, new research suggests.
More often than not, these patients aren't even aware that they have not understood what transpired or remembered what they were told, the investigators note in their study, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
To shed more light on the communication process that occurs in this setting, Dr. Kirsten G. Engel at Northwestern University in Chicago and colleagues interviewed 140 adult English-speaking patients or their primary caregivers after discharge from emergency departments at two teaching hospitals.


Orange County social services reach out to Vietnamese community

When Planned Parenthood representatives began handing out free condoms during an initial information session with recent Vietnamese immigrants in Orange County last year, a hush fell over the room.

Those who took one quietly whispered, in Vietnamese, that they were for friends. Some called the representative the "candy lady." And the word "condoms" itself seemed embarrassing, so they called the handouts "raincoats."

Health Care Marketplace | AP/Detroit News Examines Lifetime Health Coverage Caps as Cost of Health Care Rises

 U.S. residents increasingly "are learning that individual caps that seemed large quickly max out" because of the rising costs of health care, the AP/Detroit News reports. As a result, several patient advocacy groups are encouraging insurers to increase the limits, which do not adjust for inflation. In addition, lawmakers are currently considering two bills that would mandate such adjustments, according to the AP/News.

According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust, 1% of U.S. employer-based single coverage health plans in 2007 set limits on benefits below $1 million. The study also found 22% of single coverage plans set caps from $1 million to less than $2 million.


A Worrisome Trend in State Health Care Reform

Instead of working to make good coverage available to all residents, Florida and Georgia are leading a new wave of state proposals to push the uninsured and low-income Americans into high deductible and limited benefit health plans. Backed by Newt Gingrich's Center for Health Transformation and playing the tune of John McCain's health care plans, the Florida and Georgia proposals are signs of what's to come from the Right in future state and federal health care debates.

Florida - Coverage in Name Only: With an unfocused eye on the state's 3.8 million uninsured Floridians, lawmakers enacted the Cover Florida Plan ( SB 2534) which, among other things, allows insurers to offer limited benefit health plans called "Consumer Choice Benefit Insurance Plans". Monthly premiums will be capped at $150, but no subsidies will be made available to low-income residents. Coverage will focus on preventive care, office visits, and prescription drugs, but there are no requirements that specialist care or lengthy hospitals stays be covered.


Problems found with consumer directed health plans

Consumer-driven health plans, hailed since their inception in 2000 as a tool to help control costs, are actually motivating plan members to forgo care and discontinue drugs to treat chronic medical problems, according to two new studies by Oregon researchers.
Under these employer-sponsored health insurance plans, members pay up-front deductibles either out of their own pockets or from a dedicated health-care account before insurance coverage begins.
New research published in Health Affairs this week, led by two University of Oregon policy experts, found people enrolled in these plans were more likely to quit taking drugs that control high blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications than participants with more robust medical coverage.
The number of large companies offering a consumer-directed health plan has nearly doubled over the last two years, according to research published earlier this year by Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health.