Insurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul. But consumer advocates warn that companies are still using wiggle room to discourage the sickest — and costliest — patients from enrolling.
Kansas and Missouri are among nine states that have passed Health Care Compact legislation, endorsing an interstate agreement that would remove participating states from federal Medicare and Medicaid regulation. But all interstate compacts require congressional approval, and that’s an iffy proposition.
To fight rising medical costs, oil company BP last year offered Cory Slagle – a 260-pound former football lineman – an unusual way to trim $1,200 from his annual insurance bill. One option was to wear a fitness-tracking bracelet from Fitbit Inc. to earn points toward cheaper health insurance.
New grants to support behavioral health services and family violence prevention have been awarded by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The 2014 grants are going to 34 area nonprofit organizations that provide services to the poor and underserved population.
For people who don’t suffer from it, chronic pain is impossible to see, difficult to diagnose and thus easy to doubt. So some living with chronic pain — by one estimate, as many as 42,000 people in the Kansas City area — don’t talk about it. An initiative called Relieving Pain in Kansas City faces an uphill public relations climb.
The company has opened six primary care locations in South Carolina and Texas, with another six planned by the end of the year. The clinics, it says, can offer a broader range of services, such as chronic disease management, than the 100 or so Wal-Mart acute care clinics across the country. Unlike CVS, Walgreens or Costco, Wal-Mart is marketing itself as a primary medical provider.
The Sunflower State has resisted expansion of its Medicaid program through the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, states that adopted optional parts of the Affordable Care Act programs have seen the largest declines in their uninsured rates, new Gallup poll data show.
The health care industry is fueled more by workers who have an associate degree or less than it is by workers who have earned bachelor’s degrees in health-related fields. A Brookings Institution study says the less educated health care workforce makes up more than half of the nation’s health care labor pool. In the Kansas City area, it’s 46.1 percent.
An Affordable Care Act rule that requires health insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care, rather than administration or profits, resulted in $332 million in rebates nationally, including $3.57 million owed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.
The UnitedHealth Group study was designed to test the theory that paying doctors a percentage of the cost of medicines they prescribe encourages them to use more expensive treatments, rather than the best or most cost-effective ones.
Civic and business leaders, tired of seeing Kansas City ranked as one of the fattest, unhealthiest cities in the nation, have created a Healthy KC Commission. Leaders are seeking citizen input on how to get people to smoke less, lose weight, exercise more, eat better and, with luck, reduce the high incidence of diabetes.
Health insurance bought on the federal health insurance marketplace for 2014 cost buyers an average of $59 a month in Missouri and $67 a month in Kansas. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said income tax credits for eligible buyers — offered through the online federal site — cut the average premium cost from $344 in Missouri and from $290 in Kansas.
The Healthy Lifestyles grants support community programs that aim to increase access to healthy food and safe places to be physically active and reduce exposure to tobacco among the uninsured and underserved residents of the community. The foundation said it selected the 20 nonprofits from a pool of 61 proposals that sought $8.9 million in funding.
Cerner executives told shareholders that the company’s evolution from a health care information technology company to a health care company has made it a leader in the industry and produced a big economic impact in the Kansas City area.
The Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature health care law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money.
About 113,000 adult portable handles used to help people get into and out of bed are being recalled by a Blue Springs company following reports of three deaths. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday that Bed Handles Inc. is voluntarily recalling the handles.
When hope and hype swell around new drugs and procedures, the results can be ineffective, expensive and even dangerous. “There’s a tendency by doctors and patients to believe that newer is better and more expensive is better and higher tech is better,” said physician and author Richard Deyo. “The truth is, it really is very difficult, even within the medical profession, to distinguish the really important advances from things that aren’t.”