insurance

The Wheelhouse Digest
12:39 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Marijuana and Energy

While we're busy being distracted by fake marriage proposals on ballfields, plants are growing in Connecticut, or will be if some in the state have their say. Those stories and more you might have missed.

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROWER APPROVED IN MIDDLETOWN
Former factory space may become quite "green."

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Here & Now
4:10 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Deadline Looms For States To Enroll Thousands In Health Plans

By October 1, states are supposed to have their health insurance exchanges up and running so they can enroll residents.

The exchanges are online insurance marketplaces for individuals and small businesses — where people can shop for a health plan.

Some people will pay out of pocket for their health coverage and others may get some help from the federal government to pay for their premiums.

Polls show that 40 percent of Americans do not know that the Affordable Care Act is in effect, and that percentage is higher for uninsured populations.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
2:19 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Exchanges and Gifts

Credit Sage Ross, Wikimedia Commons

Got time for a little news diversion while you wait to find out if A-Rod will play in Chicago tonight? You're at the right place. Here are a few stories you should know about today.

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NO INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE FOR YOU
Aetna withdraws from Access Health CT.

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10:28 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Connecticut May Act on Mental Health Parity Provisions

New state legislation may soon be considered to address enforcement gaps in existing federal regulations related to mental health coverage.
Frustrated by what they consider a lack of clarity from the federal government on how to enforce a landmark mental health parity act, some Connecticut officials want the state to issue its own guidance for interpreting the law. "We just can't wait any longer," said Anne Melissa Dowling, the state's deputy insurance commissioner.
Affordable Care Act
2:05 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Obama Pushes Health Care Deadline Back, Businesses Cheer

On Tuesday, President Obama announced that one-year delay for a crucial aspect of his Affordable Care Act. The delay gives businesses another year to figure out how to comply with the law.

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Coming Home Project
5:25 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Amendment Would Help Military Families Insured by Tricare

Courtesy of Flickr CC by BLW Photography

An amendment to the defense budget bill before Congress could help military families who have children with developmental disabilities including autism.

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Health Insurance
1:30 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Is Connecticut in for "Rate Shock?"

Commercial insurers are very close to revealing the rates they’ll charge for healthcare plans under the new Connecticut healthcare exchange. It’s been a long, uncertain road to get here.

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Where We Live
10:41 am
Wed April 24, 2013

The Future of Public Pensions

StockMonkeys.com on Flickr Creative Commons

In 2010, the Pew Center on the States reported that a majority of states didn’t have enough available cash to pay for the pensions of their public sector workers...and Connecticut--along with Illinois, Kentucky, and Rhode Island were in the most trouble.

But, not all states fared so badly.

While Connecticut had assets to cover only 53% of its pension obligations in 2010, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin had assets to cover 95% of their pension obligations in the same year.

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Where We Live
10:41 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Providing Healthcare in Rural Communities

Chion Wolf

There are plenty of roadblocks to healthcare, especially if you’re without insurance and money. But for many Americans, just finding a doctor can be difficult.

Although nearly a quarter of the U.S. population lives in rural communities, only a one in ten physicians practice there....they have only a third as many specialists as cities. The population’s older...it smokes more...and suffers from more accidental deaths.

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Health Care
6:16 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Need for Primary Care Doctors Touches Community Health Centers, Too

With legal and political battles over the Affordable Care Act all but settled, it now appears that the health care overhaul law is here to stay. The goal of the law is to promise insurance coverage for more Americans and, if it works, increase access to care.

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Sandy's Side Effects
12:42 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Flood Insurance Rates Set To Rise

The National Flood Insurance Program promises help for businesses and homeowners caught in devastating weather events like Sandy. But it’s a huge burden on taxpayers, and some critics argue that it encourages building in flood-prone areas. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports on how new rate increases for the program might affect its future.

Nearly 40% of small businesses that sustain severe flood damage in natural disasters subsequently close down. Pop’s Grocery on Main Street in Bridgeport is struggling to stay off that list.

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Small Businesses Reopening Doors
2:18 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Power Outages Frustrate Shuttered Businesses

Harriet Jones

As Connecticut gets back on its feet in the wake of Sandy, job number one for many small businesses is just to be able to open their doors once again. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, in some hard hit shoreline communities, that’s a challenge.

Monday morning, as Sandy bore down on the tri-state coastline, some businesses defied the oncoming weather. In downtown Mystic, Wide World of Bagels was one of the few stores that still had power and owner Nicole Denkis was running to keep up with all the additional customers.

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Hurricane Sandy
8:05 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Businesses Batten Down The Hatches For Sandy

Just as many households prepared for the worst of Hurricane Sandy, so too did employers. But what’s the evidence that businesses have learned anything from the natural disasters Connecticut experienced last year? WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Healthcare Reform
11:45 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Demonstrators Protest Cigna Pay, Healthcare Lobbying

J Holt

Several demonstrators were arrested outside Cigna’s annual meeting in Hartford Wednesday, protesting about executive pay and what they say is the company’s interference with healthcare reform. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Small Business and Health Insurance
2:13 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Realtors Support Small Business Healthcare Access In CT

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s realtors are throwing their weight behind the effort to allow small businesses to buy into the state’s health insurance pool. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

About 600 realtors gathered at the Capitol Thursday to lobby legislators about a range of issues. But Bob Kimball, the president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors says one issue at the forefront of everyone’s mind has little to do with the housing market – health insurance.

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Insurance
5:12 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Health Insurers Move Ahead, With Or Without Individual Mandate

For the health policy world, the Supreme Court's tough questioning of the individual mandate last week was a seismic event.

But in Hartford, Conn., the city sometimes called the epicenter of the insurance industry, David Cordani isn't quaking.

Cordani is the CEO of Cigna, the nation's fourth-largest health insurer. He says the insurance industry started changing itself before the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. And the changes will continue regardless of what happens at the high court.

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Health Care
3:24 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Murphy Stands Behind Health Overhaul

The U-S Supreme Court begins deliberations on the nation's health care overhaul law next week.  At issue is the act's highest profile piece -- the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, or face a penalty.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

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Small Business and Health Insurance
11:38 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Healthcare Bill Attempts To Improve Access For Small Businesses

Harriet Jones

A new bill before the legislature aims to provide more options for small businesses purchasing health insurance. But as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it looks likely to stir up significant controversy.

Carolyn Malon runs a dental practice with her husband in Farmington.

“Every day in my own practice, I see the challenges that patients, self-employed people and small employers have in assessing good quality insurance coverage.”

As a small business owner she’s backing new legislation to increase access to health coverage for a very personal reason.

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Manufacturing
12:41 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Businesses Fall Behind On Disaster Planning

The end of January is gut-check time for anyone who’s made New Year’s resolutions. Many experts say top of the resolution list for small businesses should be a disaster recovery plan. After all, the incredible list of weather emergencies in Connecticut last year drove many businesses to the brink. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Health Insurance
11:41 am
Mon January 2, 2012

As State Designs New Health Care Guidelines, Advocates Push For Consumer Voice

Earlier this month, the Obama administration said it wanted to let states play a bigger role in deciding what kinds of benefits should be covered by health insurance. Now, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, some advocates in Connecticut want to be sure that consumers have a voice in the state's decision, too. The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. By 2014, those without insurance will have the option of getting it through a state-administered exchange. 

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Health Care Reform
4:16 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

State Health Care Advocate on Where We Live

As the U-S Supreme Court prepares to test the constitutionality of President Obama's signature health care reform law, state officials across the country are trying to figure out the best ways to implement it -- even if they don't think it's the best option out there.  Victoria Veltri is Connecticut's health care advocate.  As the state gears up for the introduction of its private health insurance exchange, where those without insurance can buy it, Veltri told WNPR's Where We Live that she'd like to see something totally different.  A public health insurance plan.

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Where We Live
10:14 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Health Care Advocate Victoria Veltri

Chion Wolf

Connecticut’s new healthcare advocate, Victoria Veltri is tasked with helping residents through the maze of health care laws, regulations and roadblocks.

Veltri’s involved in disputes between insurance carriers and health care providers; disputes about the state’s Medicaid program for low-income adults; and about the implementation of state health exchanges.

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Small Businesses
11:39 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

Businesses Turned Away By Insurance After Power Loss

Chion Wolf

Thousands of small businesses around the state were closed down for days by the recent power outage. Now that the lights are back on, many are working on insurance claims to recoup their losses. But as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports some are in for a nasty surprise.

This is A Little Something, a small independent bakery in West Hartford’s Park Street. Owner Beth Bolton says the power was out here for five days.

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Northeast Utilities
10:04 am
Thu November 10, 2011

Northeast Utilities Establishes Outage Compensation Fund

The parent company of Connecticut Light & Power says it will establish a ten million dollar fund to compensate residential customers who lost money as a result of the recent power outages. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Environment
12:41 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Tree Expo In The Midst Of "Arbor-geddon"

Harriet Jones

The foremost experts in the tree care industry have gathered in Hartford this week, just as the state’s power system is devastated by snow damage to trees. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Just as chain saws are being fired up and tree crews are working round the clock across Connecticut, delegates from all over the country flocked to Hartford Thursday for the annual Tree Care Industry Association conference. Mark Garvin is President of the Association. He says attendance is down this year.

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Shoreline Hotels
2:40 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Southeast Hotels Welcome Storm Refugees

Harriet Jones

For many people struggling without power, the answer has been to find a hotel room and hunker down. That’s meant a rush for the shoreline hotels and guest houses in Southeastern Connecticut, which was unscathed in the storm. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Health Care
6:29 am
Wed June 1, 2011

Health Premiums Double In Decade

Connecticut’s private employers have seen the price of health insurance premiums for workers and their families rise 102 percent since 1999, an analysis by C-HIT shows. The amount that families pay for this coverage rose an even steeper 107 percent.

The increases came during a decade when median household income in Connecticut grew by less than one third.

C-HIT’s review also found wide geographic variations in the insurance premiums charged for Connecticut families. 

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