health care

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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Affordable Care Act
10:19 am
Sun December 1, 2013

HealthCare.gov Is Now Working Smoothly, White House Says

The HealthCare.gov website.
Jon Elswick ap

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 11:07 am

White House officials say the government's health insurance website, which has been plagued with problems ever since it launched in October, is now working smoothly for most users.

"The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity with greatly improved performance," Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the site, said during a telephone conference with reporters on Sunday. The bottom line, said Zients, is that Healthcare.gov is "night and day" from what it was at launch.

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Affordable Care Act
4:30 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Small-Business Access To Online Health Exchanges Delayed Again

Small employers can still enroll in Affordable Care Act coverage through insurers or brokers, but not through the online exchanges.
iStockphoto

The Obama administration is delaying yet again online signup for small businesses through the Affordable Care Act. The program was intended to make it easier for small employers to provide health insurance to their workers on a more equal footing with big business.

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Health Insurance
9:16 am
Mon November 25, 2013

No Individual Health Insurance Policy Fix for Connecticut

Deputy Insurance Commissioner Anne Melissa Dowling gives evidence to lawmakers
Credit CT-N

Individuals who've received cancelation notices on their health insurance policies in Connecticut must now find an alternative. Governor Dannel Malloy said he will not allow insurance companies to renew plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act, rejecting President Obama's fix announced last week.

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Artificial Food
6:27 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Connecticut Food Industry Readies for Potential Regulation of Trans Fats

Barbara Bucknam of Stew Leonard's (at right), with Beth Leonard Hollis, said the group is making strides in eliminating trans fats in in-house foods.
Sujata Srinivasan

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to reduce artificial trans fats in processed foods. According to the agency, the move could help prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year. This means manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants could have to reformulate some of their recipes.

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Affordable Care Act
5:43 am
Sun November 24, 2013

Colorado Ads Use Sex And Alcohol To Sell Health Insurance

This controversial ad riffing off the legendary "got milk?" campaign is one of several marketing health insurance to young people in Colorado.
Thanks Obamacare campaign

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:41 pm

Try this on for size: The Affordable Care Act is good for young adults because it'll save them money on health care, leaving them more to spend on liquor and birth control.

That's one way to interpret the message from a provocative new ad campaign in Colorado. Not everyone is thrilled with it.

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Affordable Care Act
12:23 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Connecticut Rejects Individual Health Policy Fix

Governor Dannel Malloy extended the health care enrollment deadline to December 22.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy said he will not allow insurance companies to renew non-compliant health plans in Connecticut, rejecting President Obama's fix announced last week. The President left it to states to decide whether to adopt his change, which was a response to news that hundreds of thousands of people across the country had received insurance cancelation notices. 

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Mental Health
10:42 am
Thu November 21, 2013

A Son's Death Reveals Chasms In Emergency Mental Health Care

A hearse leaves the Deeds family home in Millboro, Va., on Tuesday, after 24-year-old Austin "Gus" Deeds died in an apparent suicide.
Don Petersen AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:49 pm

Parents who have a child struggling with serious mental illness live in fear that the worst will happen.

The apparent suicide of a young man in Virginia after he allegedly attacked his father, a state senator, shows how difficult it can be for families to get help in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The recession brought deep cuts in states' spending on mental health. The reductions made it harder for people to get help before they're in crisis, mental health advocates say, and even harder to find a hospital bed in an emergency.

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Where We Live
4:03 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Hartford Insurance Scandal Unfolds, and Dialing Up the Future of Call Centers

WNPR's Jeff Cohen.
Chion Wolf WNPR

According to a union count, Connecticut has nearly 50,000 call center workers, mostly in the telecom industry. A growing sector for this industry is health care, especially after the Obamacare rollout.

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Emergency Care
1:32 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Over Half of Connecticut's Emergency Rooms Keep You Waiting Longer Than the National Average

Hartford Hospital claims a shorter ER wait time than the federal data shows.
Elipongo Creative Commons

In more than half of Connecticut’s emergency rooms, the waiting time to see a health-care provider exceeds the national average of 28 minutes – a problem that experts say could get worse, as thousands more residents obtain health insurance.

The average wait can stretch to an hour or more at Rockville General, Manchester Memorial, Bridgeport, Waterbury and Hartford hospitals, according to a C-HIT review of federal data. The statewide average waiting time is 30 minutes.

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Affordable Care Act
7:46 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Health Care Law "a Maze" for Small Businesses

Credit Darnyi Zsóka / Creative Commons

When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, large companies will be subject to a penalty if they don't provide coverage for their workers. But life is also changing in unexpected ways for small companies as the health care rollout continues.

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Technology
12:34 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Internal Emails Reveal Warnings HealthCare.gov Wasn't Ready

Henry Chao, the project manager of HealthCare.gov, is sworn in to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 4:42 pm

HealthCare.gov could barely function on the day the health insurance marketplace debuted, and internal emails show at least some top health officials could see the failure coming.

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Health Care
5:37 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Insurers Aren't Keen On Obama's Pledge To Extend Coverage

In a White House news conference Thursday, President Obama said he had thought that "98 percent" of policyholders would see no change in their current policies, or get a better deal.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:53 am

Remember when President Obama said, "If you like your health plan you can keep it?" Now it's more like, "If you like your health plan you can keep it — for another year, and only if your insurance company says it's OK."

It's not clear whether the administration's proposal to let insurers extend the policies they've been canceling for the past couple of months will solve the president's political problem. But it's sure not going over very well with the insurance industry.

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Affordable Care Act
11:35 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Live Coverage: President Obama Speaks About Health Insurance Coverage

President Barack Obama.
Credit Pete Souza / Creative Commons

President Barack Obama will deliver a statement to the nation on Thursday about the Affordable Care Act. His remarks come after a House oversight hearing that focused on technical glitches at the healthcare.gov website.

Watch the address live below.

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Health Care
10:34 am
Wed November 13, 2013

More People Enroll in Private Insurance Than in Medicaid in Connecticut

Connecticut is the only state in the country to have enrolled more people in private insurance than Medicaid. Above is a picture of the Access Health CT Enrollment Center in New Britain.
Credit The Connecticut Mirror

Connecticut is the only state that has so far enrolled more people in private insurance plans than Medicaid since open enrollment began on October 1. Access Health CT has signed up about 6,000 people in private plans, and about 4,700 in government-funded Medicaid coverage, according to the Associated Press.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:05 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Update on Connecticut Insurance Exchange

Credit Alex Proimos/flickr creative commons

Time for a health checkup on Connecticut's health insurance exchange. What is working? What improvements are still needed? Tell Faith and her panel of health care experts how it worked for you. 

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