Category: Trends In Health Care - Part 3

Opinion: Opposition to Affordable Care Act could have consequences for millions

By Bob Semro One of the most significant roadblocks to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is the strident opposition that it faces. That opposition has been unrelenting and will have far-reaching impacts for millions of Americans for many, it will determine if they have access to affordable health care. There is a political component to the opposition, and it usually breaks along party lines, but the opposition shows that, after years of debate, there remains a strong philosophical, emotional and ideological divide around health care reform. Since passage of the law in 2010, the House of Representatives has…

Online tax credit system to go live Nov. 4

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Customers trying to use an online system to qualify for federal tax credits through Colorados health exchange will have to wait until Nov. 4. Managers at Connect for Health Colorado initially delayed the online feature until the end of October and in order to secure subsidies, customers have had to call clogged phone lines. Now, a spokesman said in a written response to questions that customers wanting to use the exchange website to cut their health insurance costs will have to wait until Nov. 4, the new target date for Colorado to have an online subsidy application. In the meantime, the only way…

Opinion: Despite good intentions, women not achieving good health

By Sarah Mapes Over many decades and centuries, many things have changed about American families. One thing that hasnt is that when it comes to health and health care, women are in the drivers seat. In two-thirds of American households, women are the primary health care decision-makers. We are more likely to choose our familys health insurance plan. We ensure that our children get vaccines and regular check-ups, that our husbands take their heart pills and that our aging parents get appropriate long term care. We account for 80 cents of every dollar spent at drugstores and do most of the scheduling of medical…

Thousands look, 226 buy during exchange debut

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Colorados new health exchange has attracted thousands of visitors since its launch on Oct. 1, but only 226 pulled the trigger and bought insurance as Obamacare officially launched. High traffic to the Connect for Health Colorado website caused technology glitches that prevented many people from being able to create accounts immediately after the exchange launched. Those problems continued through last week and prompted two unscheduled shutdowns to reboot the exchanges software, technology managers said. Even so, as of Friday, about 28,000 people have created accounts and about 204,000 unique visitors have surfed the site that offers…

Kaiser quiet on new transgender coverage

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Kaiser Permanente says it will now cover care for transgender patients in Colorado, but its unclear exactly what Kaiser will cover since the insurance company wont talk in detail about its new policies. Kaiser released a brief statement last week saying that as of Sept. 10, the company will now provide additional services to patients diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Treatment will include behavioral health, medical testing, hormone therapy for members who have a drug benefit and transgender surgery, Kaiser spokeswoman Amy Whited said in a written statement. The statement noted that some exclusions and limitations that…

Ads target young invincibles for ‘CYA’ insurance

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Minnesota went for humor. Its ads promoting the states new health exchange show a klutzy Paul Bunyan, crashing while water skiing, nailing his thigh with an axe and tumbling off his roof. The tag line: Minnesota: Land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance. (Click here to see the water skiing ad.) Oregon could have spoofed the hilarity of Portlandia, but instead, went oddly locavore and featured Oregon musicians in ads critics have panned as trippy. Cover Oregons tag line: Long Live Oregonians. (Click here to see Live Long in Oregon). California focuses on its beautiful scenery. Covered…

Left out — health reform bypasses some immigrants, resort workers

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon GLENWOOD SPRINGS The young couple faced a tough choice: have their first baby in their hometown in Colorados priciest mountain resort area or travel instead to Mexico City. Because the 23-year-old woman was uninsured and an undocumented immigrant during her pregnancy, the birth in Colorado would have cost the couple thousands of dollars out of pocket. The womans 27-year-old husband is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Illinois, but works in Glenwood Springs, the bustling city where many service workers live about 40 miles down valley from ritzy Aspen. He gets insurance through his job,…

Health co-op first to rule that transgender exclusions are wrong

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon A new health insurance company that is offering some of the lowest prices for health coverage on Colorados new exchange is now the first to decide that it will cover transgender care. Colorado HealthOP , a new nonprofit member-owned health cooperative formed with federal grants under Obamacare, has vowed that it will not discriminate against any groups. Currently most plans sold in Colorado and around the country specifically bar medical care for transgender people. That means most health carriers wont pay for hormone treatments or gender reassignment surgeries. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has strengthened gay marriage…

Health insurance like buying a BMW for some Spanish speakers

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon When new Connect for Health Colorado ads launch this fall, Spanish speakers will hear a different message from other potential customers. The call to action will be Come and learn rather than Come and buy, the message that will bombard most other customers. Thats because many Spanish-speaking immigrants dont even ponder buying health insurance since they think its out of reach financially, according to a consultant who is advising Connect for Health. Spanish speakers have the perception that health insurance is not an option for them so they are not looking for health insurance, Melissa Burkhart, founder of the translation…

New red light warning for Colorado exchange

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Twenty-two days before the slated opening of Colorados new health exchange, the project manager issued yet another red light warning, signaling that data-sharing with Colorados Medicaid systems may not work by Oct. 1 and that Connect for Health Colorado managers might have to shift to contingency plans. On top of troubles meshing with the states Medicaid systems, managers at Connect for Health Colorado are contending with IT snafus from the federal government. Managers warned Colorado board members on Monday that the Social Security Administrations data system likely will be offline for four hours every night from about 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. MST…