December 15, 2012 |
Despite years of prodding and pleading by the Obama administration, close to half of the nation's governors will not take a critical step to implement the president's healthcare law next year, leaving the job of running new insurance markets for their residents to the federal government. But what was once viewed as a setback for the Affordable Care Act is increasingly seen as a blessing by consumer advocates, many of whom doubt that officials in some Republican-controlled states are committed to implementing a law they fervently oppose.
November 24, 2012 |
A health insurer owned by two Wall Street giants is headed to trial next week over claims it misled a San Bernardino County couple into buying a policy that left them with more than $140,000 in unpaid medical bills from cancer treatment. Norman and Kathleen Carter of Yucaipa are battling their insurance company, even as Kathleen continues to fight abdominal cancer. The couple sued a unit of HealthMarkets Inc. in August 2011 in Superior Court for fraud and breach of contract, accusing the company and its insurance agent of deliberately misrepresenting the health plan benefits.
November 7, 2012 |
With President Obama's reelection lifting a potential roadblock, California officials are rushing to implement the federal healthcare law and revamp the insurance market for millions of Californians starting next fall. Republican challenger Mitt Romney had vowed to overturn the Affordable Care Act, casting uncertainty over efforts in California to use billions of federal dollars to extend coverage to many of the state's 7 million uninsured. Wednesday, California officials disclosed plans to spend nearly $90 million next year on marketing and outreach to millions of consumers who may become eligible for premium subsidies and other assistance under the federal law starting in 2014.
March 20, 2012 |
As consumer advocates celebrate the early benefits of the federal healthcare law near its two-year anniversary, they are also warning about the need to crack down on the potential for deceptive marketing related to reform. State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) said he is seeking legislation to strengthen consumer protections on health plan marketing and to close gaps that exist in state law on the review of marketing materials. Patient advocates say they're worried unscrupulous companies and salespeople will use the massive federal expansion of health coverage to enroll the uninsured in substandard plans that don't offer comprehensive benefits or a full network of medical providers.
March 1, 2012 |
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has blocked the federal government's plan to require cigarette manufacturers to cover half of each package sold with a graphic health warning. In his ruling, issued late Wednesday, Leon said the government mandate amounted to an "impermissible expropriation of a company's advertising space for government advocacy. " That decision confirms a temporary stay issued by Leon in November - a move that signaled his view that a suit brought last August by several tobacco manufacturers against the Department of Health and Human Services would likely prevail.
April 23, 2011 |
My ZIP code is a black hole for individual health insurance. That's what I recently discovered when I tried to find the coverage I want at an affordable price. What hubris I had. My story started in 2009, when my position as a journalism professor at a small college was eliminated, and I lost my health benefits along with the job. In the ensuing months, as the clock ticked on my COBRA extension , I began to focus on finding a new health plan. I thought it would be a matter of dealing with mild sticker shock and doing comparative shopping.