health care
health care

Gregg commissioners OK change to county employee health insurance | Local News

The Gregg County Commissioners Court approved a change to employee health insurance Thursday despite a concern raised among some members about a lack of time to perform research.

Commissioners heard from Dawn Brinson with Brinson Benefits, a consultant that’s worked with the county for two years.

The item from Brinson that generated the most discussion was whether the county should award a contract for medical and dental plan administration to Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said the county has contracted with Healthcare Highways for two years and has received numerous complaints from employees about the company and its delay in processing claims.

County employees were being contacted by their health care providers to ask why payment hadn’t been made, he said.

“Healthcare Highways was not processing (claims), and they were bundling them up. Instead of doing it for every one, they’d wait till they got hundreds and then they’d process it,” Stoudt said.

He appointed a committee made up of himself, human resources, purchasing, auditing and Brinson to consider options for the county’s health care administrator.

And in January, Brinson was instructed to seek bids for a company that could replace Healthcare Highways, Stoudt said.

According to Stoudt, 33 companies submitted bids — the most it’s ever received for an employee insurance contract.

Three weeks ago, Brinson presented the bids to Stoudt and offered to seek a lower price if he was willing to “press the time.” He agreed and told her to seek a lower bid.

Pct. 3 Commissioner Floyd Wingo said the packet of information regarding the insurance change had only been given to commissioners two days before Thursday’s meeting, and he believed there wasn’t enough time for them to make an informed decision. Wingo questioned why commissioners weren’t told about the

Read the rest

Washington Insurance Commissioner Will Not Seek Reelection

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Longtime Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said Monday he would not seek reelection.

Kreidler’s announcement comes about a year after Gov. Jay Inslee and bipartisan legislative leaders called for his resignation over accusations from former employees that he used racist slurs and was demeaning or rude toward staff members, The Seattle Times kreidler-will-not-seek-reelection/”reported.

“Serving alongside you as Insurance Commissioner for Washington state has been, and continues to be, the greatest honor of my life,” Kreidler, 79, said in an email to the staff Monday. “I’ve always said it was the best job I’ve ever had, and I still feel that way today.”

Kreidler, a Democrat, was elected in 2000 and previously served one term in Congress.

Last year, a half-dozen potential and former employees washington-a49a2d526ffb8590461edafc44eb84ab”disclosed instances from 2017 to 2022 when Kreidler was demeaning or rude, was overly focused on race, and used derogatory terms for transgender people and people of Mexican, Chinese, Italian or Spanish descent, as well as asking some employees of color for unusual favors.

Political Cartoons

Inslee had said the events demonstrated Kreidler is “unable to fulfill his leadership responsibility” and should resign.

“Commissioner Kreidler assured his employees and the public he would work to improve his relationship with staff, but instead he terminated an employee who spoke out about these issues,” Inslee said at the time.

Republican and Democratic leaders in the state Legislature made similar calls.

Kreidler, however, chose to remain in office.

“I take full responsibility for my past behavior and recognize the impact it has had on those around me and the people I serve,” he said last year. “I have pledged to do better and stand by that commitment.”

The insurance commissioner is the top state regulator of Washington’s insurance industry,

Read the rest

Oregon House passes bill expanding abortion, trans health care

The bill has sparked fervent debate, particularly regarding abortion access for minors. It would allow doctors to provide an abortion to anyone regardless of age.

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon lawmakers have advanced a sweeping bill intended to protect abortion and gender-affirming health care for transgender people by boosting legal safeguards and expanding access and insurance coverage.

Democratic representatives on Monday night passed the bill along party lines in a House floor vote that stretched for roughly six hours after Republicans sought to stall it.

Citing concerns about the wide-ranging scope of the bill — which addresses topics from minors’ access to abortion to emergency contraception at university student health centers to insurance coverage for gender-affirming care procedures — Republicans sought through various motions to send the bill back to different policy committees, delay the vote until next month and postpone it indefinitely.

Republican state Rep. Lily Morgan was among those who spoke in favor of its postponement.

“It would give us the time to address some of the concerns brought up today, and if nothing else have an honest discussion around them,” she said.

Republicans said they were frustrated that the bill, which has sparked fervent debate, only received one public hearing. The emotionally charged hearing at the state Capitol in Salem in March lasted several hours with dozens of people testifying in person. Hundreds more submitted written testimony both for and against it.

Democrats said the bill has been drafted over the past year and came out of a work group that was convened after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision.

“This bill is the result of a year-long collaboration between dozens of legislators and stakeholders including patients, providers, advocates, community groups, and legal experts. It protects, strengthens, and expands safe, equitable access to

Read the rest

Shapiro signs first bill, expands Pa. health insurance coverage for breast cancer screenings

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters.

HARRISBURG — Insurers must cover the costs of breast cancer screenings for people at high risk of developing the disease under a new law Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro signed Monday.

“This is just the start. We have a lot more work to do, and this spirit of goodwill and compromise needs to continue,” Shapiro said at a signing ceremony in the Capitol, flanked by lawmakers from both major parties.

Advocates for health care access said the law — the first Shapiro signed since taking office in January — is a positive, though limited, step toward making crucial medical tests more affordable. They urged further action in this vein, something that typically requires lawmakers to negotiate with the commonwealth’s powerful health insurance industry.

The new law will allow people at higher risk of breast cancer to receive further genetic counseling, ultrasounds, and MRIs among other treatments without paying out-of-pocket costs. State-regulated insurers were already required to cover, but not entirely pay for, MRIs and ultrasounds under a 2020 law.

The coverage requirement only applies to private, state-regulated health insurance plans, though the state’s Medical Assistance program already has similar coverage.

According to the Susan G. Komen Center for Public Policy, 11 other states have passed laws removing copays or deductibles for imaging, while two more are poised to join that list soon.

However, no other state has mandated coverage of genetic testing for the BRCA genes, which indicate a higher chance of developing breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.

The underlying bill was sponsored by state Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland), a breast cancer survivor, and

Read the rest

Health care providers as fact witnesses: They aren’t on call for lawsuits

Michael Essig

Michael Essig

While a potential medical malpractice lawsuit may be a physician’s or nurse’s biggest legal worry, far more common is a call via subpoena or informal request to serve as a non-party witness in a personal injury lawsuit, whether it be over a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall, or another health care provider’s malpractice.

Realizing that oneself is merely a witness in someone else’s dispute may bring a wave of relief after the initial shock of seeing a court document, but there are several issues that non-party health care providers, attorneys for the parties to the lawsuit and attorneys for non-party health care providers should be aware of when issuing or responding to a witness subpoena so that everyone’s time and resources are used efficiently.

Relevant law

While no one wants to be called to court on a moment’s notice, Virginia law dictates that subpoenas need be served only five calendar days prior to the proceeding, whether deposition or trial.

Furthermore, service within five calendar days of the proceeding is not fatal to the subpoena, allowing a court to “after considering all of the circumstances, refuse to enforce the subpoena for lack of adequate notice.” (Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-407(A).

Also worth noting is that this code section explicitly states that § 8.01-271.1 applies to subpoenas issued, meaning an attorney should be sure the basis for the subpoena is “well grounded in fact” and “not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay….”

Other than this five-day requirement for service of subpoenas, there are no other notice requirements for non-party witnesses. Virginia Supreme Court Rule 4:5 requires that all parties be given “reasonable” notice of any deposition, but no such notice is required for the non-party witness himself. (Va. Sup. Ct.

Read the rest

Sustainable health insurance for all

Article 35 of the Constitution of Nepal guarantees the right of citizens to free basic health services from the state. However, in practice, health care is one of the most commercialized sectors in Nepal. There are abundant private hospitals with opulent facilities in Kathmandu and other urban areas, but healthcare facilities are still rudimentary in rural areas. According to a 2021 data from the Ministry of Health and Population, there were 110 hospitals, 10 health centers, 3,789 health posts and 3,176 sub-health posts in Nepal. The frequency of physicians is one per 18,400 people. Nepal is among the countries with the lowest global health care index—ranking 107th globally, and 6th among eight South Asian countries. The main reason for this is the inefficiently implemented health care policy over the years. Apart from that, the unbearable cost of medical services in private and inadequate facilities in government hospitals is also the reason that is alienating citizens from the constitutionally guaranteed right to basic health care services.

The manifestos of all major political parties include the implementation of ubiquitous access to health care services once they form the government. Unfortunately, the promises are broken once the respective parties command the power to operate state machinery. Since the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015, minimal progress has been achieved in this sector; no sustainable policy has been drafted, and no effective homework has been done to materialize the mandatory constitutional directive.

The foremost requirement for ubiquitous access to health care is its cost-effectiveness. If the service is too costly, as it is at the moment, a large section of the people is deprived of fundamental rights. On the contrary, the cost of health service commodities, including medicines and hospital equipment, is skyrocketing globally. Within the present health care setup, it is

Read the rest

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Hawaii (2023)

For 2023, the average health insurance cost in Hawaii is $421 per month for a 40-year-old across all plan tiers, which is 3% more expensive than the average cost for 2022.

We researched all of the health insurance policies in the state and found that KP HI Silver 4000/45 from Kaiser Permanente is the cheapest Silver health plan in every county. However, the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) offers the lowest-cost Catastrophic, Gold and Platinum health plans in Hawaii, making it the most affordable insurer for some of the more basic or comprehensive policies.

Hawaii residents can often find affordable coverage options on the health insurance exchange.

With five different plan tiers offered in Hawaii, knowing which coverage to choose can be difficult. To help with your search, we compared all of the policies in Hawaii to find the most affordable health insurance option at each level of coverage offered on the health insurance exchange.

Catastrophic HMSA Catastrophic Plan $177 $9,100 $9,100
Bronze KP HI Bronze 6500/30% $330 $6,500 $9,100
Silver KP HI Silver 4000/45 $471 $4,000 $8,900
gold HMSA Gold PPOII $439 $2,000 $8,700
Platinum HMSA Platinum PPO $561 $0 $3,000

As you can see above, health plans with higher monthly premiums tend to have lower out-of-pocket costs if you do use your insurance.

For example, the monthly premium on the cheapest Bronze plan for a 40-year-old in Hawaii is $330, which is $231 cheaper than the premium for the cheapest Platinum plan. But the cheapest Bronze plan has a $6,500 deductible, whereas the Platinum plan has a $0 deductible.

Metal tiers and age are two important factors when insurers determine the actual cost of your health insurance plan. As the plan tier becomes higher, your coverage increases, but your monthly premium typically increases as well. And as you

Read the rest

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Louisiana (2023)

Finding the best health plan with the coverage to fit your needs can be challenging, so we compared health insurance plans in Louisiana by metal tier in order to determine the most affordable policies available for each level of coverage. The insurers and policies below may not be available in your region, but you can use this information as a starting point to compare the costs and benefits you can expect from a given metal tier.

For example, the Christus Silver plan has a minimum monthly premium of $496 (before subsidies) for a 40-year-old in Louisiana shopping for Silver coverage. This is $57 less than the monthly premium for the cheapest Gold plan. In exchange for this lower rate, you would have to pay more out of pocket — the Silver health plan’s deductible, for example, is $1,250 greater than that of the Gold plan.

Bronze Christus Bronze $389 $9,100 $9,100
Silver Christus Silver $496 $2,000 $8,400
gold Ambetter Everyday Gold $553 $750 $7,500

Two factors that greatly affect your monthly health insurance premiums are metal tier and age. The metal tier, or coverage tier, affects how much money you pay out of pocket. You have lower deductibles, copays and coinsurance with higher tiers — but also higher monthly premiums.

And as your age increases, the monthly health insurance rates you have to pay increase across metal tiers. For a Silver health care plan, a 40-year-old in Louisiana pays 28% more on average than a 21-year-old for the same level of coverage. A 60-year-old pays 112% more than a 40-year-old for the same health plan.

Cost of health insurance in Louisiana

Finding your best health insurance coverage in Louisiana

In Louisiana, the availability and costs of policies vary depending on the region in which you live. Higher metal tier health plans, like Gold plans, come

Read the rest

Best Cheap Health Insurance for Young Adults

If you are a young adult, you may, for the first time, need to find your own health insurance policy. However, there are great options for those in their teens and 20s that provide comprehensive coverage at an affordable price. When shopping for health insurance as a young adult, you should consider your own specific situation with respect to your age, income and life stage.

For example, a millennial who may be starting a family might require a different type of health insurance policy than a single person starting their first job and living alone. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate your own life and then carefully review policies so you can find the best option available.

Free health insurance options for young adults

We recommend first considering health insurance policies that you may be eligible for that have no cost. This includes either a company plan provided by your employer or being eligible for the federally funded Medicaid program.

Employer-sponsored health care

One of the best free or low-cost health insurance options for young adults would be acquiring coverage through an employer’s health plan that is fully paid for. This is not as common as it used to be since health care costs are rising and employers are requiring their employees to pay a portion of the premium. However, employer-sponsored plans can still be a cheap optionas most employers will pay the larger portion of the premiums for your health care.

Typically, if you select employer coverage, your portion of the premium will be taken out of your paycheck pretax. Employer-sponsored health care will provide coverage for you and any dependents that you have, which is similar to many other types of health care that you should consider.


Another free or low-cost option for health insurance,

Read the rest

Reports: 12 Oregon health insurance companies failed to fully comply with the Reproductive Health Equity Act

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – All 12 health insurance companies in the individual, small group, and large group markets in Oregon failed to fully comply with the Reproductive Health Equity Act at varying levels, according to reports released Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services ‘Division of Financial Regulation.

The agency found that most noncompliance involved improperly charging copays, coinsurance, and deductibles or failing to cover mandated benefits.

The division examined Aetna Life Insurance Company, BridgeSpan Health Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, HealthNet Health Plan of Oregon, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, Moda Health Plan, PacificSource Health Plans, Providence Health Plan, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon , Samaritan Health Plans, UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, and UnitedHealthcare of Oregon.

The examinations found that each of the 12 insurers failed to pay all eligible claims according to RHEA requirements. They applied copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, which are prohibited under RHEA for reproductive health and preventive care services. In some cases, insurers improperly denied claims for RHEA covered services.

In addition, the report found that three insurers – Aetna, BridgeSpan, and Regence – failed to cover certain types of contraceptives or applied improper limitations in the amount or timing of when a member could refill a prescription.

Finally, examiners found that Cigna, HealthNet, Kaiser, and Samaritan each failed to properly resolve all consumer complaints and maintain adequate records demonstrating that they timely and adequately resolved member complaints, appeals, and complaints.

“RHEA is a critically important tool in the state’s effort to remove barriers to reproductive health care,” said Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi, who is also the DCBS director. “As with every law, our insurers have an obligation to fully and timely implement each aspect of RHEA across all of their systems. It is disappointing to see

Read the rest