health care

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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Affordable Care Act
2:44 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Highs and Lows for Access Health CT

Kevin Counihan
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's rollout of the Affordable Care Act has gotten its share of praise. But it's had its share of challenges, too.

Kevin Counihan runs Access Health CT, the agency handling the state's implementation of the new health care law. He said of the more than 300,000 people without insurance in Connecticut, over 47,000 have enrolled for coverage since October 1.

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Medical Research
7:00 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Genetic Test Aims to Take Guesswork Out of Drug Dosing

Gualberto Ruano, director of the Genetics Research Center at Hartford Hospital, leads a study aimed at reducing the guesswork in psychiatric drug dosing.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Researchers at Hartford Hospital are looking into a gene that determines how fast the liver clears medication from the body. The goal of the five-year study is to reduce the guesswork in psychiatric drug dosing.

It's a gene with a fancy name: CYP2D6

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:21 am
Mon December 16, 2013

The Latest on Connecticut Health Care Sign-Ups

Credit Jeremy Brooks/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: Our check-up on our health care enrollees reveals Connecticut has one of the nation's most successful exchanges. The state doubled what the Obama administration set as a target for Connecticut—more than 14,000 of us have enrolled in the exchange. 

The majority of enrollees are between the ages of 55 and 64, which raises the question of whether the majority are also unemployed. 

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Affordable Care Act
1:37 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Health Exchange Enrollment By State, In 2 Charts

HHS

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:48 pm

Numbers released by the Obama administration show enrollment in health exchanges edged up in November, but the uptake remains far short of the administration's initial targets.

Roughly 264,000 people signed up for private insurance coverage last month through the federal and state exchanges, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. That brings the total to about 364,000 for October and November.

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Immigration and Health
11:51 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Undocumented Immigrants to Strain Safety-Net Hospitals

Credit WebKazoo / Connecticut Health I-Team

Undocumented immigrants are expected to make up a larger share of Connecticut’s uninsured population next year, putting new financial pressures on safety-net hospitals that provide emergency care to everyone, state and national health experts predict.

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Employer Health Care
10:49 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Will Your Health Plan Become Like Your 401K?

Access Health CT's latest enrollment stats, as of December 5, 2013.

The Affordable Care Act wasn't aimed at people who already get health care through their employers, but it's having such a revolutionary effect on the marketplace, they might end up feeling its effects anyway. 

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Access Health CT
8:27 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Connecticut's Health Exchange Continues Enrollments, Seeks to Help Find "Best Value"

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

Access Health CT, the state's insurance exchange, said it has now signed up more than 23,000 people for health plans.

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Mental Health
10:43 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Rule Spells Out How Insurers Must Cover Mental Health Care

Insurance plans that offer mental health benefits have to keep them in line with the coverage for medical care.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:41 pm

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health plans that offer benefits for mental health and substance use to cover them to the same extent that they cover medical and surgical care.

Among other things, the law prohibits treatment limits and copayments or deductibles that are more restrictive than a plan's medical coverage.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:01 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Blood Pressure is One Measure of Future Cardiovascular Disease

Dr. Paul Thompson, Chief of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital
Chion Wolf

Long before we knew how the cardiovascular worked, ancient doctors may have recognized what we call hypertension. It seemed like maybe there was too much blood, so they treated it with leeches. 

Even today, high blood pressure is a little bit mysterious. The way it's typically measured may be the wrong way. And, it's not caused by one single factor so no single drug treats all the things that cause high blood pressure. 

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Affordable Care Act
3:08 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'This Law Is Working,' Obama Says Of Health Care

While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."

"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."

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