insurance

Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

How Healthy Is Connecticut?

This Health Equity panel discussion was held at CPBN's Chase Family studios.
Steve Honigfeld

Our third Health Equity Forum is a project we’ve been working on for a few years now with our partners at Connecticut Health Foundation, exploring the idea of health equity in Connecticut. How do we make sure that everyone has the best possible health outcomes regardless of race, regardless of how much money you have?

It’s a tricky issue for policy makers, which is why we’re so glad to have as the basis for our conversation a new set of information called the Connecticut Health Care Survey. Six organizations came together to put out this report, which is drawn from some 5400 households interviewed. 

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Health Insurance
3:27 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Frustrated By The Affordable Care Act, One Family Opts Out

Nick and Rachel Robinson welcome their son Cash, who was born in a midwife's birthing pool.
Jessica Hooten Courtesy of Nick Robinson

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:21 pm

The Robinson family of Dallas started out pretty excited about their new insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

Nick Robinson had turned to Obamacare after he lost his job last summer. He had been working as a youth pastor, and the job included benefits that covered him, his two young daughters, and his wife, Rachel, a wedding photographer.

Nick says he wasn't too nervous at first, because everyone was healthy. Then, he recalls, they found out Rachel was pregnant.

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Freedom of Information
9:17 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Company Says Health Care Exchange Contracts Are "Trade Secrets"

Stockbyte Thinkstock

The company that got the multimillion-dollar contract to run the call centers for the health care exchange Access Health CT -- called Maximus -- is refusing to release invoices and contracts to show exactly how much they are paid by the state. 

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Affordable Care Act
9:12 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Obamacare Enrollees Emboldened To Leave Jobs, Start Businesses

Mike Smith, of Long Beach, Calif., now pays $200 for his family's health insurance policy, compared with the $3,000 a month he would have had to pay on the individual market last year.
Stephanie O'Neill for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:10 pm

Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.

He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.

"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.

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Health Disparity
9:43 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Advocates, State Working to Expand Behavioral Health Coverage For the Poor

Pamela McGuire is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Hartford.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The Affordable Care Act is all about getting people health insurance. Once they're insured, there's another hurdle: getting them access to care. That's a particular problem for people living on low incomes.

It's even more of a problem for the poor who seek behavioral health care. 

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Affordable Care Act
4:22 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Obama: Affordable Care Act Enrollment Hits 8 Million

President Obama speaks about health care on Thursday. ACA enrollment has reached 8 million, he said, and it's "well past time" for Republicans to stop trying to repeal it.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama says that enrollment under the Affordable Care Act has reached 8 million after the March 31 sign-up deadline was extended by two weeks.

"This thing is working," he told reporters at a White House briefing on Thursday.

The president said that 35 percent of those signing up through the federal government's website were under the age of 35. The need for younger, healthier individuals to enroll in the program is considered vital to the success of Obamacare.

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Health Insurance
2:42 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Patients Often Win If They Appeal A Denied Health Claim

A 2011 GAO report that sampled data from a handful of states suggests that, even before Obamacare, patients got the claim denial overturned 39 to 59 percent of the time when they appealed directly to the insurer.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:29 pm

Federal rules ensure that none of the millions of people who signed up for Obamacare can be denied insurance — but there is no guarantee that all health services will be covered.

To help make sure a patient's claims aren't improperly denied, the Affordable Care Act creates national standards that allow everyone who is denied treatment to appeal that decision to the insurance company and, if necessary, to a third party reviewer.

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Reflecting On Obamacare
3:28 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Head of State Health Insurance Exchange Reflects on Lessons Learned

Kevin Counihan says Access Health CT's two retail storefronts performed well, enrolling over 70 percent of their 14,000 visitors.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Now that the deadline for enrollment in Obamacare has passed, the head of Connecticut's health insurance exchange has said he learned a few lessons.

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Affordable Care Act
5:03 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Connecticut to Share Its Obamacare Computer Code

Credit Michael Himbeault / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Obamacare enrollment website did well enough this year to attract the interest of other states. Officials from Access Health CT said they are finalizing a deal with the state of Maryland to share computer code.

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Affordable Care Act
4:09 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obamacare Enrollment Surged in Connecticut as Deadline Expired

Credit Slawomir Fajer/iStock / Thinkstock

President Obama said that more than seven million people have signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Connecticut saw a huge surge in enrollments as Monday's deadline passed. 

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Affordable Care Act
2:13 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obama: The Affordable Care Act Is Working, 'Helping People... Coast To Coast'

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 5:00 pm

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET. with Obama's comments.

President Obama emerged from the White House on Tuesday to rousing applause. He announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the federal exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," Obama said at the Rose Garden. "It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast."

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Affordable Care Act
9:57 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Seven Things to Watch As the Health Care Enrollment Deadline Passes

Credit scyther5/iStock / Thinkstock

Just because open enrollment for people who buy their own health insurance formally closes March 31 doesn't mean debate over the health law will take a hiatus. After more than four years of strident rhetoric, evidence about how the law is actually working is starting to trickle in. 

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Connecticut First
5:44 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Metro-North Braking Upgrade Complete; Bill Considered to Address Absenteeism

Metro-North has finished upgrading its signal system. That means trains approaching five moveable bridges and two critical curves on the New Haven Line will automatically stop when engineers fail to slow down. The emergency stop provisions were put in place at two curves-- one in Bridgeport, the other in Port Chester, New York. The Federal Railroad Administration issued the order in December after a deadly train derailment in The Bronx.

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Access Health CT
7:31 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Customers Rush To Retail Store In Connecticut To Buy Obamacare

DeLisa Tolson signed up for health insurance at a retail store set up by Connecticut's exchange. She says she was so happy with the experience, she told all her friends.
Jeff Cohen/NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Mike Dunn stands inside a store in downtown New Haven, looking through the big glass windows at his future customers outside. He's not selling phones or food or clothes. He's selling Obamacare.

There's one week left to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and states have gone to great lengths to enroll as many people up as possible. In Connecticut, the exchange has opened two retail storefronts where people can walk in and sign up.

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Maternity Care
1:03 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Health Law Provides No Guarantees Of Access To Birthing Centers

Nurse midwife Danielle Kraessig seen meeting with Yakini Branch at the PCC South Family Health Center in Berwyn, Ill., in early 2013. While the federal law requires insurers to cover maternity services, birthing centers and midwifery services aren't always included.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:48 pm

Insurance coverage for maternity care is required in most individual and small group plans under the federal health law, extending such coverage to plans where it used to be rare. But for women who prefer services provided by midwives and birthing centers, there are no coverage guarantees, despite the law's provisions that prohibit insurers from discriminating against licensed medical providers.

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Access Health CT
7:31 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Connecticut Looks To Sell Its Obamacare Exchange To Other States

Kevin Counihan, CEO of Connecticut's health insurance exchange, hopes to be able to market their expertise.
Jeff Cohen/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:14 am

Kevin Counihan, the CEO of Access Health CT, is walking through the 15th floor of a downtown Hartford office building that houses Connecticut's health insurance marketplace. He passes the legal department, the IT folks and the consultants, then stops in front of three large, wall-mounted computer screens.

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Health Care
4:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Massachusetts Launches Health Care Shopping Experiment

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed the law enacting the state's latest phase of health care on August 6, 2012.
Eric Haynes/Governor Deval Patrick's Office

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:08 pm

To shop for health care, it would help to know what childbirth or a CT scan will cost ahead of time. But is it possible to actually list prices for medical procedures? And will patients armed with the information look for bargains when they seek care?

Massachusetts is trying to find out. Since Jan. 1, hospitals and doctors there have been required to tell patients how much things cost, if they ask. It's part of the state's health care cost control law. We set out to run a test.

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Connecticut First
5:15 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Possible Bill on Insurance Price Negotiations; Malloy Offers Alternative to National Guard Cuts

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow the state's health insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, to negotiate prices with the insurance companies selling products through the exchange. Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, says the legislation could lead to lower prices for Connecticut consumers.

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Health Marketplace
4:12 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Bill Could Allow Access Health CT to Negotiate Prices

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

A legislative committee wants to delay for a year when the state's insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, could begin negotiating prices with the insurance companies selling products through the exchange. 

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Wesleyan Fraternities
7:32 am
Tue February 25, 2014

The Business Of Frats: Shifting Liability For Trauma And Injury

Students walk past the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house at San Diego State University after news that a student had died there on April 20, 2012.
Sandy Huffaker Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:55 pm

For those of you keeping track of the headlines detailing sexual assault and hazing at frat houses, it may come as no surprise that fraternities have a dark side. Caitlin Flanagan, a writer at The Atlantic, spent a year investigating Greek houses and discovered that "the dark power of fraternities" is not just a power over pledges and partygoers but one held over universities as well.

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Network Controversy
12:54 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Docs Claim United Healthcare Losing Medicare Members

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

United Healthcare has lost customers in its Medicare Advantage program, according to a physicians group that's locked in a court battle with the insurer. It has been the target of heavy criticism for its decision to drop 2,000 Connecticut doctors from its Medicare Advantage network. 

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Obamacare Update
3:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

As Deadline Nears, State Insurance Exchanges Still A Mixed Bag

Oregon's road to health coverage continues to be bumpy; the website for the state's health insurance marketplace still isn't fully open to consumers.
ilbusca iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:53 pm

With a bit more than a month left for people to sign up for health insurance plans set up under the Affordable Care Act, the federal website known as HealthCare.gov finally seems to be working smoothly — in 36 states.

But what's happening in the 14 states that are running their own exchanges?

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Hard To Access
11:57 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Still No Obamacare Website for State's Spanish Speakers

From left, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov Nancy Wyman, Kevin Counihan, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The Spanish-language website that will enroll state residents in Obamacare is still facing delays. In fact, officials say it could be another two weeks until it is operational. 

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Connecticut First
3:26 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Blast of Snow Arrives; Legislative Opening Delayed

Heavy, wet snow has blanketed the region on Wednesday, leaving up to eight inches of snow along the shoreline and up to a foot of snow in the northern part of the state. The next system to watch is Sunday night into Monday. For Wednesday evening, mostly cloudy skies with temperatures in the teens.

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Health Insurance Costs
11:56 am
Mon February 3, 2014

10 Places Where Health Insurance Costs The Most

Health insurance premiums in Aspen, Colo., are among the highest in the country.
Andrew Wilz AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:12 pm

If you are buying health coverage in the Colorado ski resort towns, the Connecticut suburbs of New York City or a bunch of otherwise low-cost rural regions of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada, you have the misfortune of living in the most expensive insurance marketplaces under the new health law.

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Hartford Insurance Investigation
10:48 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Cloud Campaign Consultant Got Hybrid Insurance Job

Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit City of Hartford

A federal grand jury is looking into the business dealings of Hartford insurance broker Earl O'Garro. And from the beginning, what raised eyebrows was the relationship between O'Garro and city Treasurer Adam Cloud -- O'Garro did business with Cloud's family.

Now, there's another development. A woman who was a paid campaign consultant for Cloud's 2011 campaign also got a job with Hybrid.

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Hartford Insurance Investigation
9:24 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Troubled Insurance Broker O'Garro Due in Court

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Mike Priggins and Kyle Reyes / under30ceo.com

Earl O'Garro, the embattled insurance broker who is at the heart of a federal criminal probe, is due in state court Thursday on charges that he failed to pay his workers.

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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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