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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 healthcare.gov 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 healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

 

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Wednesday
Jul302008

Senators reach out to Obama, McCain on reform

All 16 Senate sponsors of the Healthy Americans Act—a broad bill that would effectively end employer-sponsored healthcare in favor of insurance from a pool of providers—have called on the two major-party presidential candidates to work with them on health reform legislation.
“We believe it is vital that we start working now to ensure that all of our people have high-quality care early in the next administration without breaking the bank,” the senators wrote in a letter sent to Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). The senators go on to say that a strong, bipartisan coalition “will allow a reform initiative to survive the assaults of politics and interests that afflict any serious reform proposal.”
In May, congressional budget auditors said that the bill, primarily sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), would be “self-financing” or budget-neutral in its first year, eventually yielding a surplus.
As written, the legislation would provide incentives to buy basic private health plans and make health insurance more portable. People with incomes below the federal poverty level could receive subsidies to buy insurance, and states would be given more flexibility to give consumers more choices in insurance available on the private market. -- by Matthew DoBias.

Article from Modern Healthcare
Monday
Jul282008

House Subcommittee Examines Rural Health Care Disparities

Critical telecommunication and work force challenges contribute to greater disparities in access to health care in rural areas, according to panelists at a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development and Foreign Agriculture hearing last week, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Wayne Myers of the Maine Health Access Foundation, representing the National Rural Health Association, said it is "extremely difficult and expensive" to recruit and retain physicians and health care providers in rural areas. Tom Morris, acting associate administrator for HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration's Office of Rural Health Policy, discussed current programs meant to retain doctors in rural communities including the National Health Service Corps -- where more than half of the participants go to practice in rural areas -- and the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network, which over the past four years has placed about 2,900 clinicians in rural areas.
Subcommittee Chair Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) said that federal grant and loan programs are essential to improving rural health care. McIntyre said, "With limited dollars available for rural health care programs, we must ensure they are used in ways that address the challenges and with sufficient federal coordination."

read_more: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=53541
Monday
Jul282008

Law Banning Rewards for Rescissions Caps Statewide Effort

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) signature this week on a bill banning health insurers from rewarding their employees for rescinding or limiting coverage comes on the heels of state regulators reaching deals with the state's five major insurers over rescissions.
The governor signed AB 1150 by Assembly member Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Tuesday. It is one of several bills aimed at the individual insurance market that lawmakers introduced following state investigations into rescissions, a practice in which insurers revoke policies after people get sick and file claims.
Only people who buy coverage in the individual health insurance market are subject to rescissions; members of group plans cannot have their coverage rescinded. An estimated 14 million Americans, including three million in California, have individual policies.

read_more: http://www.californiahealthline.org/theweekly.aspx?article=legislative&w=07/25/2008
Friday
Jul252008

Pennsylvania Gov. Rendell Law Requiring Private Health Insurers To Cover Treatment for Autism

 A bill recently signed by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) will require private health insurance companies in the state to provide diagnosis and treatment coverage of up to $36,000 per year for residents under age 21 with autism spectrum disorder, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The law, which is scheduled to take effect in July 2009, also requires insurers to provide coverage for applied behavioral analysis therapy that experts say is a key element in treatment of the disorder.Patients needing treatments that exceed the $36,000 limit will be eligible for state Medicaid reimbursements to cover the extra expense. Health plans that provide coverage to businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be exempt from the new law.
Currently, children with autism can enroll in the state's Medicaid program, which is managed by the Department of Public Welfare and spends about $185 million annually on medical-assistance programs for residents under age 21 with autism, the Inquirer reports. Under the new law, those children would be transferred from the Medicaid program into private health plans that could reduce state spending by about $13 million in the first year after it is implemented, according to the Inquirer.

read_more: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=53513
Friday
Jul252008

Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee McCain Discusses Cancer Issues at Ohio Event

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) on Thursday discussed issues related to cancer at a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by cyclist and testicular cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, the Los Angeles Times reports.
During the event, McCain, a melanoma survivor, said, "I was in a battle with melanoma. And I know ... somewhat, at least to a small degree, how tough that battle can be. And yes, I've become a fanatic. Yes, I admit it. When I see a woman with a child in the sun, I go over and say, 'Get sunscreen on that child, please.'" McCain, a former smoker, also criticized tobacco industry lobbyists.
According to the Times, "McCain's appearance at the summit was widely panned by liberal groups that have criticized his health insurance plan, which some independent analysts say could make it more difficult for people with health problems to find coverage." McCain has proposed to replace a tax break for employees who receive health insurance from employers with a refundable tax credit of as much as $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families to purchase private coverage, and critics maintain that the plan "might impose hardships on cancer survivors, for example, because insurance companies might balk at covering people with pre-existing conditions," the Times reports.

read_more: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/health2008dr.cfm?DR_ID=53511