JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — When Billy Sewell began offering health insurance this year to 600 service workers at the Golden Corral restaurants that he owns, he wondered nervously how many would buy it. Adding hundreds of employees to his plan would cost him more than $1 million — a hit he wasn’t sure his low-margin business could afford.
FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015, file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington. The math is harsh: The federal penalty for having no health insurance is set to jump to $695, and the Obama administration is being urged to highlight that cold fact to help drive its new pitch for health law sign-ups. That means the 2016 sign-up season starting Nov. 1 could see penalties become a bigger focus to motivate millions of people who have remained eligible for coverage, but uninsured. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The math is harsh: The federal penalty for having no health insurance is set to jump to $695, and the Obama administration is being urged to highlight that cold fact in its new pitch for health law sign-ups.
That means the 2016 sign-up season starting Nov. 1 could see penalties become a bigger focus for millions of people who have remained eligible for coverage, but uninsured. They're said to be squeezed for money, and skeptical about spending what they have on health insurance.
There’s no easy answer, but knowing your options can help.
By Lacie GloverJuly 20, 2015 | 10:25 a.m. EDT
When you have a good relationship with your doctor, it's almost like magic – especially if you've ever had a doctor you've disliked. After all, a good doctor-patient relationship can do wonders for the quality of your health care. You're more likely to be open and candid, and the doctor is more likely to listen closely and provide better care.
Earlier this month a guy named Todd Fassler was bitten by a rattlesnake in San Diego, KGTV San Diego reports. In itself this isn't terribly unusual — the CDC estimates that roughly 7,000 to 8,000 people a year get bitten by a venomous snake in the United States. And somewhere between five and six people die from these bites each year.
Employers who reimburse their workers for health care costs will face massive tax penalties beginning Wednesday.
Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, with its mandate that all Americans purchase insurance and requirement for businesses to offer employees insurance plans, many small companies provided coverage by directly reimbursing medical costs or for the cost of private insurance plans. Businesses do it because that’s a less complicated process than dealing with an official health insurance plan, but continuing to do so after July 1 could cost them hundreds of dollars in fines each day.
Douglas White knew high-deductible insurance is supposed to make patients feel the pain of medical prices and turn them into smart shoppers. So he shopped.
He called around for price quotes on the CT scan his doctor ordered. After all, his plan’s $2,000 deductible meant paying the full cost out of pocket. Using information from his insurer, he found a good deal — $473.53 at Coolidge Corner Imaging in Boston, a half hour from his house.
But the bill he got later was for $1,273.02 — more than twice as much — from a hospital he had no idea was connected to the imaging center.
Don’t delay medical care out of frustration, and remember to stay flexible with your provider choices.
Medicaid insures more than 70.5 million Americans, according to the most recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Largely low-income health care consumers, these patients have had a notoriously difficult time finding physicians to treat them, and in a reasonable amount of time.
With an influx of people qualifying for the public insurance and changes to providers’ reimbursement rates, it’s difficult to say if these troubles will improve or worsen. So it’s crucial that Medicaid beneficiaries know what they’re up against.
One of the most controversial and least understood aspects of coverage under the Affordable Care Act is the network concept. More precisely, the narrow-network concept, since the whole goal of health insurers that steer patients to networks of preferred doctors and hospitals is to keep the provider roster limited and therefore (so they expect) cheaper.
Grads who were on student health plans have a lot of options.
If you’re about to graduate from college, you have an important decision to make. No, not whether to stay on the family cell phone plan, but whether you’ll be covered under their health insurance plan.
Students who were insured through their college’s student health plan will lose that protection when they graduate, or at least soon after the festivities end. And while you now have several good options to choose from, don’t dawdle: If you want to get back on your family’s employer-provided plan, you only have 30 days to do it.
Americans who don’t have qualified health coverage could be subject to a penalty next year when they fill out their 2014 tax returns. People who don’t buy health insurance in 2015 (open enrollment in marketplace plans starts Nov. 15) could face an even steeper penalty.
However, there are so many exemptions (more than two dozen) that most who lack coverage can avoid the penalty, assuming they can work through the paperwork maze.
People must apply and get approved for some exemptions, others they can claim, without approval, based on their income or other factors.
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