Health Law May Be Reducing Pressure On Some ERs
The Affordable Care Act is relieving financial pressures on some hospitals by reducing unpaid emergency room bills and may also be curbing the growth of such visits, CBS News reports. Meanwhile, Alcoa joins IBM and Time Warner in shifting white-collar retirees to a private insurance exchange, and nonprofit religious employers say they will continue lawsuits against the law's contraception coverage requirement.
CBS News: Obamacare Could Be A Tonic For Overtaxed ERs
Some early signs hint that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is relieving hospitals' financial pressure by reducing unpaid bills at America's overburdened emergency rooms. The rate of ER visits in the U.S. has been on a steady rise for years, with many uninsured people using ERs as their primary place to receive health care, often for nonemergency conditions (Kennedy, 9/9).
Chicago Sun Times: More Insured Patients Than Uninsured At Cook County Health And Hospital System
The Cook County Health and Hospitals System may be thought of as one of those places where people go for health care only when they lack insurance. But for the last six months, the hospital has seen more patients with insurance than without it, the CEO of the hospitals system said today. … The primary reason for that, he said, was the expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. In 2012, Cook County got a waiver to get an early start on that expansion, which allowed adults making less than roughly $15,860 to get Medicaid even if they didn’t have children or weren’t disabled (Thomas, 9/9).
The Washington Post: The Simple Ways Health Insurance Can Change Your Life
It was time. A colonoscopy is a common procedure. If Benesh’s visit had been covered by private insurance or even Medicare or Medicaid, it would be unremarkable. Ho hum. But her medical insurance was made possible by the Affordable Care Act. The federal law, especially in this part of the country, is often called “Obamacare” with a derisive twang. Missouri’s Republican-led legislature has tried repeatedly to stop the legislation from taking root, including pushing back against an effort by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to expand Medicaid. So Benesh’s doctor’s visit felt like an act imbued with political motive, a simple hospital trip transformed into a journey through the nation’s caustic battle over health care. Floating above were big questions about the role of government and whether health care is a right (Frankel, 9/9).
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Alcoa Shifts Retirees To Private Health Insurance Exchanges
Alcoa Inc. is sending its white-collar retirees to a private exchange to shop for health insurance as the aluminum maker joins the growing ranks of large companies looking for ways to control benefit costs. The move, which does not affect retirees covered under union contracts, is the latest example of major changes in the way corporate America provides health insurance to workers and retirees. With health costs rising dramatically and the Affordable Care Act reforming many parts of the nation's health care system, companies are trying to shift more responsibility to employees through greater cost-sharing. Like Alcoa, IBM and Time Warner are moving thousands of retirees to private exchanges instead of offering them company-administered health plans. Department store chain Sears and drugstore chain Walgreens are sending their workers to private exchanges (Nixon, 9/9).
The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog: Religious Employers To Go Ahead With Contraception Lawsuits
A batch of nonprofit religious employers signaled they will continue with lawsuits against the Obama administration’s contraception coverage requirement, the first clear sign the administration’s latest compromise won’t end the legal battle over the issue. Three nonprofit organizations asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit late Monday to block the administration’s efforts to require their insurance plans to cover prescription forms of contraception under a new arrangement designed to shield employers from directly funding or providing methods they believe to be immoral. The requirement is part of the Affordable Care Act (Radnofsky. 9/9).