health care

Health Care
12:15 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Lawmakers Take United Healthcare to Task Over Medicare Plan

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

Insurer United Healthcare was taken to task at a legislative hearing in Hartford for its action in dropping 2,000 Connecticut physicians from its Medicare Advantage plan. The company is in the midst of legal action by doctors' groups in the state over the move.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Talking About HIV/AIDS in 2014

AIDS medications that Karina Danvers takes.
Chion Wolf WNPR

"Dallas Buyer's Club" covers a lot of the same ground as an Oscar-nominated documentary about AIDS from last year, "How To Survive A Plague." Each film covers the time from mid-to-late 1980s when the disease struck, when there was no accepted or effective medical treatment, when the patients themselves had to push for better research and faster tracks to bring drugs to market.

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Emergency Care
8:52 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Connecticut's Emergency Rooms Earn a C Grade in New Study

Credit Stockbyte / Stockbyte / Thinkstock

A new study of emergency medicine ranks Connecticut 15th overall. One of the biggest concerns is wait time.

The study, by the American College of Emergency Physicians, gives Connecticut an average grade of C, saying the state has a low rate of fatal injury and its residents have generally good health. 

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Medicine
7:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

New Anxiety Research Targets Brain Using Magnets

New research underway at Hartford Hospital is using targeted magnetic pulses and MRI imaging to treat generalized anxiety disorder.
Credit Digital Vision / Thinkstock

Patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder usually have two treatment options: medication or counseling. But new research underway at Hartford Hospital is looking to add a third choice -- magnets.

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Latinos and Health
8:08 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Diabetes, Cost Of Care Top Health Concerns For U.S. Latinos

A customer buys produce at the Euclid Market in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles in December. The market was reopened in 2013 as part of a project to promote healthy eating among the city's Hispanic population.
Courtesy of UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:57 pm

Latino immigrants in the U.S. say the quality and affordability of health care is better in the U.S. than in the countries they came from, according to the latest survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. But many report having health care problems.

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Code Switch
5:15 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Poll Focuses On Views From A Wide Array Of Latino Americans

Walter Olivares

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:14 pm

You've probably heard a lot about "the Latino voter" or the way companies are trying to win over "the Latino consumer."

It's a cliché to point out that Latinos, like every other ethnic group, are not monolithic. But let's say it one more time, anyway: Latinos are not monolithic.

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Supreme Court
3:18 am
Tue January 21, 2014

A Union For Home Health Aides Brings New Questions To Supreme Court

One of the questions before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday is whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:40 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in an Illinois case that could drive a stake through the heart of public employee unions.

At issue are two questions: whether states may recognize a union to represent health care workers who care for disabled adults in their homes instead of in state institutions; and whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.

To understand why a growing number of states actually want to recognize unions to represent home health care workers, listen to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

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Epic Epidemiology
4:23 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

How Do Scientists Track Connecticut Flu Outbreaks?

Officials from the Connecticut Department of Public Health say there have been 1,029 influenza reports so far this season.
Credit Stacey Newman/iStock / Thinkstock

Getting an accurate count on flu numbers can be tricky. More than 1,000 cases of flu have been reported in Connecticut this season, but how does the Connecticut Department of Public Health arrive at that number?

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Obamacare
3:30 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

State Health Coverage Sign-Ups Paint A Complex Obamacare Picture

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, unveils a marketing campaign for the exchange in Los Angeles late last year.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Obamacare enrollment surged in December, and the administration's report on the numbers made headlines early this week.

But the national figures tend to obscure the differences from state to state.

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Health Insurance Changes
10:00 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Aetna CEO Sees Retail Market in Health Care

Mark Bertolini is CEO of Aetna.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Health care costs are going to be increasingly shifted to consumers. That was the message from Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini at a presentation Wednesday.

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Affordable Care Act
9:27 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Anthem Customers Await Health Care Confirmations

Credit vichie81/iStock / Thinkstock

Health insurer Anthem is still playing catch up on issuing enrollment confirmation to Connecticut consumers who’ve signed up for coverage through the state’s health care exchange.

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Health Exchange
9:19 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Access Health CT Board Meets

Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT.
Credit CT-N

The board of directors of Access Health CT met on Thursday morning to hear an update on operations, information technology, and marketing and sales, among other topics. Catch up on the minutes of prior meetings here

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Treatment Research
7:00 am
Wed January 15, 2014

NIH Diabetes Study Targets New Haven Clinic

Georgina Castellan, left, visits with Elizabeth Magenheimer and Mari Montosa at Fair Haven.
Credit Fair Haven

A new nationwide study funded by the National Institutes of Health is examining treatment options for Type 2 diabetes and a New Haven clinic serving low-income patients has been named a "co-investigator."

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Affordable Care Act
8:33 am
Tue January 14, 2014

New York Consumers Frustrated By Insurance Delays

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:32 am

New York's health insurance marketplace is working, but some consumers are still having problems with insurers. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield is the state's largest insurer and the target of a lot of consumer complaints.

Affordable Care Act
3:33 am
Tue January 14, 2014

California Hospital Workers Pitch Obamacare To ER Patients

O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif., is encouraging uninsured patients to sign up for coverage in the emergency room.
Sarah Varney for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 11:10 am

Angela Felan is sitting in the ER waiting room at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif. A blue surgical mask covers her nose and mouth, and a sweatshirt is pulled snug over her head.

She first came into the emergency room a few days ago with what she thought was bronchitis. The doctor prescribed an inhaler that cost her $56.

Felan, 31, works part time in retail and hasn't had insurance for at least a decade because she hasn't been able to afford it. "Unfortunately even not having insurance is just as expensive," she says.

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Affordable Care Act
5:50 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Federal Health Care Enrollees: Older Outnumber Younger

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 9:10 pm

For the first time, we are getting some demographic information about the more than 2 million people who have signed up for private health insurance through the exchanges set up by the federal government.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration said older, less healthy enrollees outnumber healthy, younger ones. The Times adds:

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Religious Belief
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

When The Right To Religion Conflicts With A Changing Society

Little Sisters of the Poor runs the Mullen Home for the Aged in Denver, Colo. The group is seeking exemption from an Affordable Care Act requirement.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

As the White House continues dealing with well-publicized problems with the HealthCare.gov website, there's at least one big question related to the Affordable Care Act that's outside the president's control: Can employers with religious objections be compelled to provide access to contraception coverage for their workers?

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has granted a temporary injunction while she considers a challenge to the contraception requirement by a group of nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Catholic organization serves the poor elderly.

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Access Health CT
4:28 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Private Insurer Struggles to Keep Up With Wave of Health Care Enrollments

Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said Anthem has faced "some challenges" making sure billing statements and proof of insurance is getting to new enrollees in a timely fashion.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The head of the state's insurance marketplace said his number one priority right now is making sure people who signed up for health care coverage can get it. So far, about 40,000 Connecticut residents have enrolled in private insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said that number rapidly growing.

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Pocket Technology
5:45 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Trouble Getting in a Workout? Try an App That Fines You When You Slack

The Pact team in San Francisco with Yifan Zhang, CEO, at the center.
Pact

Listen to the full story.

  We live in an age where our cell phones tell us how much to exercise and what to eat. And people find that it's helping them. 

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Affordable Care Act
5:43 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012

NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:55 pm

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

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Affordable Care Act
2:30 am
Fri January 3, 2014

DOJ Expected To Defend Health Law's Contraceptive Mandate

The health care law's requirement that workplace insurance policies include free birth control has been controversial from the get-go.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 9:08 am

The Justice Department will answer a challenge Friday morning to a controversial provision in the new health care law. It requires most employers that offer health insurance to include birth control at no cost.

A group of Catholic nuns has objected to that, and this week they won a temporary reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It's an unusual test case, but it won't be the last one.

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Mental Health
7:00 am
Thu January 2, 2014

A "First-Aid" Response to Mental Illness

Janine Sullivan-Wiley, left, and Jennifer DeWitt, were the co-instructors for a class on Mental Health First Aid at the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging. They're holding ALGEE the koala bear, which is the mascot for mental health first aid.
Patrick Skahill WNPR

A group in Connecticut met earlier this month to explore a simple question -- how to intervene if you think someone may be suffering from a mental illness. They were learning about "mental health first aid," which was developed in Australia in 2001 and has captured the attention of many in America, including President Barack Obama.

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Health Insurance
12:45 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Employers Contemplate Private Health Care Exchanges

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

While we've heard a lot in the last few months about public health care exchanges, another, less publicized change is taking place in the world of employer sponsored health care: private exchanges.

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Affordable Care Act
12:50 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Despite Health Law, Many People May Be Left Underinsured

Insurance coverage is only one part of the health puzzle.
iStockphoto

People with chronic conditions will be better protected from crippling medical bills starting in January, as the health law's coverage requirements and spending limits take effect.

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Disease
3:22 am
Mon December 30, 2013

$1,000 Pill For Hepatitis C Spurs Debate Over Drug Prices

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:43 pm

Federal regulators this month opened a new era in the treatment of a deadly liver virus that infects three to five times more people than HIV. Now the question is: Who will get access to the new drug for hepatitis C, and when?

The drug Sovaldi will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long.

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Affordable Care Act
10:03 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Enrollment Through Federal Health Market Surges In December

Alicia Martinez tries to sign up for a health care plan at a Miami Enrollment Assistance Center on Dec. 20, in Miami, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 1:49 pm

The White House released new figures on Sunday that show a surge in the number of Americans who have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace.

According to a blog post by Marilynn Tavenner, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, 1.1 million Americans have signed up for coverage since the marketplace opened in October.

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Newtown Investigation
1:04 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Could the Privacy of Adam Lanza's Medical Records Be Waived?

A scene from the home of Adam Lanza provided in the state's attorney's report on the December 14, 2012 shootings in Newtown.
Credit State of Connecticut

One of the enduring questions in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting is whether Adam Lanza's mental health contributed to his decision to kill 20 children, six educators, his mother, and himself. But privacy laws have gotten in the way of answering it.

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Access Health CT
4:00 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

State: Obamacare Enrollment Surging Before Deadline

Credit BrianAJackson/iStock / Thinkstock

Officials running the state's new health care exchange say thousands of people are enrolling for insurance as Monday's deadline draws near.

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Affordable Care Act
3:43 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Just Because You Started An Obamacare Application Doesn't Mean You Finished It

Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan.
Credit Christine Stuart / CT News Junkie

If you want to be insured under Obamacare come January 1, Monday is your deadline to enroll. But the agency running the program fears that some people may think they've signed up when they actually haven't.

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Cost of Health Care
10:14 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Connecticut Works to Develop a Plan for the Future of Health Care

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

At the end of this month, Connecticut will submit a plan for a radical change in the way health care is delivered in the state. Connecticut is one of 16 states bidding for a $45 million federal grant to develop a model for the future of health care. 

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