insurance

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A group of state legislators is calling on the Connecticut Insurance Department to hold extensive hearings on the the proposed merger of Cigna and Anthem. The department just signed off on the other big health insurance deal between Aetna and Humana, without holding hearings.

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The rate of denials by the state's largest managed care insurers of requests for mental health services rose nearly 70 percent between 2013 and 2014, with an average of about one in 12 requests for prescribed treatment initially rejected, a new state report shows.

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Physicians, patients, and drug manufacturers are often at the center of discussions about pain and opioid abuse. But what about insurance providers? One Connecticut company said it's found a way to better manage pain, while reducing the number of prescribed opioids. 

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The high cost of insulin, which has risen by triple-digit percentages in the last five years, is endangering the lives of many diabetics who can’t afford the price tag, say Connecticut physicians who treat diabetics.

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A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week effectively limits the amount of healthcare claims information a state can gather. But one Connecticut official says the decision may not be the blow that many people think. 

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow Tuesday to nascent efforts to track the quality and cost of health care, ruling that a 1974 law precludes states from requiring that every health care claim involving their residents be submitted to a massive database.

The arguments were arcane, but the effect is clear: We're a long way off from having a true picture of the country's health care spending, especially differences in the way hospitals treat patients and doctors practice medicine.

The United States has the most advanced health care in the world. There are gleaming medical centers across the country where doctors cure cancers, transplant organs and bring people back from near death.

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Roughly 8,000 people in Connecticut failed to pay their first month's premium for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  And that means that they won't be covered under Obamacare this year. 

Hillary Clinton wants you to know that she was doing health care before health care was cool.

"You know, before it was called Obamacare it was called Hillarycare," Clinton said recently at a rally in Elko, Nev.

It's a stock line these days in her stump speeches and debates.

The term Hillarycare was coined back in the 1990s, when Clinton tried and failed to restructure the U.S. health care system during her husband's first term as president. It was supposed to be an insult, but now she's embracing it.

When Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stumps for health care for everyone, it always gets huge applause.

"I believe that the U.S. should do what every other major country on Earth is doing," he told a crowd at Eastern Michigan University on Feb. 15. "And that is, guarantee health care to all people as a right."

The Democratic presidential hopeful basically wants to nationalize the U.S. health insurance industry, and have Uncle Sam foot the bill for medical bills, office visits and prescriptions.

Get rid of copays. Get rid of deductibles. Get rid of lots of forms.

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More than 116,000 people signed up for private insurance through Obamacare in the program's third year of open enrollment. 

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has notified the federal government that Kentucky will dismantle its state health insurance exchange, Kynect.

The move will direct Kentuckians seeking health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to use the federal health insurance site, HealthCare.gov.

More than 500,000 people have gotten health insurance through Kynect.

For people whose income changes shift them above or below the Medicaid threshold during the year, navigating their health insurance coverage can be confusing. Ditto for lower income people who live in states that may expand Medicaid this year.

Chion Wolf

Connecticut's Department of Motor Vehicles will temporarily stop forwarding to police lists of motorists whose vehicle registrations have been suspended due to a lack of insurance. 

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People who are uninsured or on Medicaid are more than twice as likely to smoke tobacco compared to those covered by other insurance, according to a national study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Patients billed for a facility fee for outpatient hospital services will get a clearer explanation of the charge, under legislation taking effect Friday.

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Open enrollment for the third year of the Affordable Care Act is ongoing, but at least one deadline has already passed. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A federal jury has convicted insurance executive Earl O’Garro on three counts of fraud after barely 90 minutes of deliberations, the U.S. Attorney’s office said Monday.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud took the stand in the federal criminal trial of former insurance executive Earl O’Garro Wednesday. Afterwards, Cloud said he had been betrayed by his former friend and maligned by the media. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Failed insurance executive Earl O’Garro took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city of Hartford as part of an effort to enrich himself and buy a million-dollar beachfront condo in the Dominican Republic, prosecutors alleged during the first day of O’Garro’s federal trial Tuesday.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The federal criminal trial of a former insurance executive who brought unwanted attention to Hartford City Hall begins this week. 

Many Health Co-Ops Fold, Others Survive Startup Struggles

Nov 26, 2015

Thousands of Americans are again searching for health insurance after losing it for 2016. That's partly because some large, low-cost insurers — health cooperatives, set up under the Affordable Care Act — are folding in a dozen states.

Consumers seeking health policies with the most freedom in choosing doctors and hospitals are finding far fewer of those plans on the insurance marketplaces. And the premiums are rising faster than for other types of coverage.

Courtesy Travelers

People who live or work in Hartford may have noticed last night a visible sign of solidarity with the French people after the Paris attacks.

The lights of the Travelers Tower on Grove Street flashed blue, white and red as a mark of respect, after last Friday's terror attacks which claimed the lives of 129 people.

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Health insurance co-ops are companies that were given federal incentives to compete for business under the Affordable Care Act. Roughly two dozen of them set up shop across the country. Now, only half are still in business, and one of them is in Connecticut. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A federal judge denied a motion to dismiss an indictment against former insurance executive Earl O'Garro Monday, clearing the way for trial to begin in December.

Connecticut's health insurance marketplace is providing a checklist of materials people need in order to purchase coverage through the exchange.

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One in four Americans say they’ve been the victim of a data breach or cyber attack. And the perception of online risk is rising sharply, according to the new Travelers Consumer Risk Index.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A lawyer for embattled Hartford insurance executive Earl O'Garro said the federal indictment against him should be dismissed because extensive publicity denied him his right to an unbiased grand jury. But federal prosecutors argued the claim has no merit.

Josie Kemp / U.S. Air Force

Kathy Navaroli, 50, of Windsor, hadn’t seen a primary care doctor in years when she decided to go for a physical this summer.

She didn’t ask about preventive care screenings, such as a mammogram or Pap test, in part because she worried they might involve an insurance co-pay or deductible. Her household income is below $30,000 a year.

“I got a physical, they did some blood work, and that was it,” Navaroli said.

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