The year-end congressional spending bill includes a provision to end surprise medical billing. Americans will now be protected from most surprise bills. The changes take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
Our governor, Jay Inslee, shut down many of Washington state’s activities again Monday to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. One of the recommendations? Cancel Thanksgiving plans.
The national uninsured rate rose in 2019 to 9.2 percent from 8.9 percent from 2018. This is the second year that there was an increase, which is concerning because the U.S. is facing one of its biggest public health crises with the covid-19 pandemic. Uninsured Americans who are hospitalized for the virus pay an average of $73,000.
Thirty-three million Medicare beneficiaries will receive a discount card in the mail for $200 that can be used to help pay for prescription drugs, President Trump said Sept. 24. However, a consumer group said Trump’s bizarre announcement is a transparent and pathetic attempt to bribe seniors for their votes.
Anthem has agreed to a $39.5 million settlement with 43 attorneys general over its massive 2014 data breach that involved the personal information of 78.8 million Americans. In addition to the payment, Anthem, one of the largest health insurance companies in the United States, has agreed to data security and management provisions designed to strengthen its practices.
Consumer coronavirus complaints to the Federal Trade Commission have grown to more than 200,000, with more than $140 million in fraud losses. Since the coronavirus outbreak began, the top complaint categories are online shopping, travel, credit cards, banks and lenders, and credit bureaus.
Unable to come to an agreement with Congress on how to curb rising prescription drug prices, President Donald Trump announced four executive orders last week that he said would lower prescription drug prices to American consumers. The orders: Direct federally qualified health centers to pass along discounts on insulin and epinephrine received from drug companies to certain low-income Americans. Allow, for individual state plans, the safe importation of certain drugs, authorize the re-importation of insulin products made in the United States, and create a pathway for widespread use of personal importation waivers at authorized pharmacies throughout the U.S. Prohibit secret deals between drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit manager middlemen, ensuring patients directly benefit from available discounts at the pharmacy counter. Aim to ensure that the U.S. will pay the lowest price available in economically comparable countries for all Medicare Part B drugs. However, this order won’t go into effect until Aug. 24, to give Trump time to get input from the pharmaceutical industry on how they think the 80 percent more the U.S. pays for Part B drugs than other countries can be reduced. “Today’s executive orders will deliver billions of dollars in discounts directly to patients at the pharmacy counter, safe low-cost imported drugs for Americans, the best deals for America on highly expensive drugs, and direct discounts passed on to patients on important drugs from community health centers, said Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services. However, Peter Maybarduk, director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, said despite Trump’s bombastic bluster for more than three-and-a-half years, he’s failed to make any meaningful difference in the lives of people suffering as a result of prescription drug corporation price gouging.
In the richest country in the world, the U.S. surgeon general is showing people how to use a piece of cloth, such as a bandana, and fold it, incorporating rubber bands, to make a cloth face mask. It's better than nothing when you need to go to the store or pharmacy. But, it makes you wonder how this country could have so poorly prepared for a pandemic that it didn't have enough personal protective equipment for its health care workers and for the general public, too. Mike Bowen, executive vice president and partner of Prestige Ameritech, the nation's largest surgical mask manufacturer, said his company has yet to increase its staff or extend its production times, citing the uncertainty that comes with outbreaks like the current one. Hiring more staff to work longer hours may help to meet the growing needs of the nation's health care workers, but if the outbreak subsides, Bowen said in a CBS News article, his businesses would be forced to downsize.
Friends provide such joy in life. I was really fortunate when I moved to the Seattle area years ago and joined the League of Women Voters. I met a group of wonderful women who have become my good friends. We’ve worked on league projects together – land use, environmental, housing, educational, and children’s issues as well as registering voters. And through the years, we’ve enjoyed and helped each other so much. Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, was the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National League of Women Voters. To celebrate in the morning, I went to the Washington State Senate to observe the reading of a proclamation honoring the league and its work. In the afternoon, I attended a Gala 100th Birthday Party and High Tea sponsored by the Tacoma-Pierce County League of Women Voters. It was a great day of celebration and memories. Meanwhile, our baby boomer bloggers continue writing helpful articles. Topics include Galentine's Day, a new dog, health care struggles, a blog update, Academy Award nominated movies opinions, and a visit to Eleanor Roosevelt's home in the Hudson Valley.
Majority of people traveling internationally for health care received dental treatment, survey shows
Twenty-one percent of people enrolled in health insurance are willing to travel internationally for care, while 60 percent of those who have already done it received dental treatment, according a survey released Wednesday by eHealth Inc., an internet health insurance exchange. “Dental insurance is often overlooked by consumers shopping for health coverage, but according to some estimates the cost of dental care has increased 90% since the year 2000,” said Seth Teich, senior vice president and general manager for individual and family plans at eHealth. “Our survey results shed light on Americans’ willingness to travel for affordable dental care, but they also illustrate the importance of getting the right dental insurance for your needs, and understanding how that coverage works.”