The Salt Lake (UT) Tribune (8/31, Stuckey) reports the University of Utah health system is now considered out-of-network by Humana, so patients with Humana insurance will likely have to pay more to receive healthcare from the University of Utah. Jason Stevenson, the education and communications director of the Utah Health Policy Project, says the change could be a “considerable disruption” for some individuals seeking healthcare.
USA Today (9/1, O’Donnell, Leys) reports, “Dramatic drops in insurance company participation on” some states’ Affordable Care Act exchanges and decreased competition are, in part, causing “often jarring rate hikes” for next year’s premiums that “threaten to surpass the” the pre-ACA individual market’s “high and wildly fluctuating rates,” according to insurance regulators and records. Health and Human Service Department Secretary Sylvia Burwell said that insurance premiums probably remained below the level they’d be under the Congressional Budget Office’s early high projections and that the ACA affected many Americans, not just the 11 million people enrolled in insurance through the exchanges. She also said her agency can take administrative actions to make the exchanges “sustainable in the long term,” although she added that congressional action could “speeds things up.” Meanwhile, National Association of Insurance Commissioners President John Huff said it is “past due” for “substantive corrections” to the ACA.
The Washington Post (8/13, Goldstein) reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is “warning hundreds of thousands of people who have bought health plans through the federal insurance exchange that their coverage will be cut off at the end of next month unless they quickly provide proof that their citizenship or immigration status makes them eligible for the new marketplace.” According to the Post, “310,000 people around the country” have been told that they “have until Sept. 5 to send copies of green cards, proof of citizenship or other documents to show that they qualify for the coverage,” and “if they do not, their coverage will end on Sept. 30.” The Post says this is “the first step the Obama administration has taken to hold consumers accountable” regarding information they provided when seeking benefits via HealthCare.gov.
On Tuesday, two federal courts issued rulings on President Obama’s healthcare law. Here’s what you need to know about how the rulings affect you:
What did the courts say?
A panel in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not allow the federal government to distribute insurance subsidies through a federal exchange being used in 36 states. Many states declined to set up their own insurance exchanges, forcing the federal government to set up its own central exchange where subsidized plans are sold. The D.C. court said that only people living in those states with their own exchanges are eligible for federal subsidies, due to ambiguities in the language of the ACA.
But in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, judges reached the opposite conclusion. That panel ruled that the federal government doeshave the authority to hand out insurance subsidies through the federal exchange, and always intended subsidies to be available to any eligible individual in the U.S., regardless of who is running the exchange.
What happens next?
The federal government will appeal the D.C. court ruling and plaintiffs in the identical case in the Fourth Circuit will also likely appeal. The issue is likely to remain unsettled for many months.
What does this mean for Americans currently getting insurance through the ACA?
Nothing yet. With conflicting rulings on the same day and appeals certain, the status quo will remain in place — for now.
Are you the type of guy who puts off doing a task and later wishes he’d just done it? If you’re a man with Medicare, now’s the time to talk with your doctor about whether you should get screened forprostate cancer, for colorectal cancer, or for both. Even if you’re feeling fine, screening tests can find cancer early, when treatment works best.
Don’t put off screenings if you’re worried about the cost: Medicare covers a digital rectal exam and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test once every 12 months if you’re a man with Medicare who’s 50 or over. Also, Medicare also covers several types of colorectal cancer screenings, and you pay nothing for most tests.
Did you know prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, second only to lung cancer in the number of total male cancer deaths? You’re at higher risk for getting prostate cancer if you’re a man 50 or older, are African-American, or have a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer.
Colorectal cancer is also common among men—in fact, it’s the third most commonly diagnosed cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the US and the third leading cause of cancer death. In most cases, colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Fortunately, screening tests can find these polyps, so you can get them removed before they turn into cancer.
Your risk of getting colorectal cancer goes up as you age. If everyone 50 or older got screened regularly, we could avoid as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer. Make sure you get screened regularly for colorectal cancer if you’re 50 or older, or have a personal or family history of colorectal issues.
June is Men’s Health Month, a perfect time for you (and the men in your life) to take the steps to live a safer, healthier life. Watch our videos on how Medicare has you covered on prostate cancer andcolorectal cancer screenings, and visit the Centers for Disease Control for more information on men’s health.