News

Taken For A Ride: After ATV Crash, Doctor Gets $56,603 Bill For Air Ambulance Trip

September 26, 2018, Kaiser Health News, Alison Kodjak, NPR News- It was the first - and only - time Dr. Naveed Khan, a 35-year-old radiologist, ever rode in an all-terrain vehicle.  Khan took the wheel from his friend and drove circles in the sand, on a trail along the Red River in Texas. “As soon as I turned to the side where my body weight was, this two-seater vehicle ... just tilted toward the side and toppled,” Khan recalled. It landed on his left arm. When an ambulance delivered him to the emergency room at United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls, Khan was surprised to hear a doctor murmur that it was the worst arm injury he’d ever seen. Khan needed immediate helicopter transport to a trauma center for surgery in Fort Worth, if there was any hope of saving the arm. Groggy from painkillers, Khan managed to ask the doctors how much the flight would cost and whether it would be covered by his insurer. “I think they told my friend, ‘He needs to stop asking questions. He needs to get on that helicopter. He doesn’t realize how serious this injury is,’” Khan recalled. After weeks in the hospital, he asked the doctors to amputate, so he could get on with his life. And then the bill came.


Data Note: Further Reductions in Navigator Funding for Federal Marketplace States

September 24, 2018, KFF, Karen Pollitz, Jennifer Tolbert, and Maria Diaz- Since taking office, the Trump administration has dramatically reduced funding for federal marketplace Navigators. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created Navigator programs to provide outreach, education, and enrollment assistance to consumers eligible for marketplace and Medicaid coverage and requires that they be funded by the marketplaces.  Since 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has funded Navigator programs in the 34 states that use the federal marketplace through a multi-year agreement that ends on September 1, 2018.  In 2017, as the third year of that funding agreement was about to begin, CMS reduced funding for Navigators by 43%, from $63 million awarded in 2016 to $36.1 million for 2017.  On a state-by-state basis, funding reductions ranged from 0% to 96% from the amounts grantees had previously been notified to expect for the 2017-2018 program year.


Surprise medical bills could be a powerful campaign issue

September 24, 2018, Axios, Drew Altman, Kasier Family Foundation- There is growing interest in the problem of surprise medical bills in the media and on Capitol Hill, with a bipartisan group of senators drafting legislation to crack down on the problem. But the issue has not been prominent in midterm campaigns and is not showing up in campaign ads. Why it matters: Recent analyses, including polling and a report on employers’ medical claims, show that surprise bills could have as much - or even more - traction with the public than other health issues being featured in the midterms. In an election where health care is top-of-mind, candidates may be missing an opportunity.


One Big Problem With Medicaid Work Requirement: People Are Unaware It Exists

The Trump administration argues that imposing work requirements for Medicaid is an incentive that can help lift people out of poverty. But a test program in Arkansas shows how hard it is merely to inform people about new incentives, let alone get them to act. In the first month that it was possible for people to lose coverage for failing to comply, more than 4,300 people were kicked out of the program for the rest of the year. Thousands more are on track to lose health benefits in the coming months. You lose coverage if you fail to report three times, and the program, in effect for three months, is slowly phasing in more people.


One Big Problem With Medicaid Work Requirement: People Are Unaware It Exists

September 24, 2018, The New York Times, Margot Sanger-Katz- The Trump administration argues that imposing work requirements for Medicaid is an incentive that can help lift people out of poverty. But a test program in Arkansas shows how hard it is merely to inform people about new incentives, let alone get them to act. In the first month that it was possible for people to lose coverage for failing to comply, more than 4,300 people were kicked out of the program for the rest of the year. Thousands more are on track to lose health benefits in the coming months. You lose coverage if you fail to report three times, and the program, in effect for three months, is slowly phasing in more people.


New Report: The high cost of being uninsured in MS

September 21, 2018, WDAM, Ashley Jackson- Are you uninsured and living in Mississippi? If so, this story is for you. Recent data from the Urban Institute indicates that in 2015, 37.4 percent of non-elderly adults aged 18 to 64 in Mississippi reported past due medical debt, which is the highest rate in the nation. The high rate of medical debt in Mississippi is most likely attributed to the prevalence of both lower incomes and higher uninsured rates in the state. Health Help Mississippi and Hope Policy partnered to host a meeting to release the data that shows how Mississippians are being affected by being uninsured. “We try to educate the community about what to do whenever you gain that health coverage,” said Samantha Wells, from Heath Help Hattiesburg. “Like I said, a lot of people aren’t aware, and we just want to guide them in the right direction.