Until I started writing the Insuring Your Health column eight years ago, I had no idea what a medical loss ratio was, and I’d surely never used the words “benchmark silver plan” in a story. If asked, I would have guessed that “ACA” stood for the American Canoe Association (which is actually a thing, by the way).
Now I know better. Way better, having written once or twice a week for several years about how the Affordable Care Act has affected consumers’ health care coverage and costs.
I’ve delved into other coverage issues along the way as well, but the huge changes brought about by the 2010 health law have been a constant focus.
Now it’s time to shift gears. This is the last Insuring Your Health column. But it isn’t the last time you’ll hear from me at Kaiser Health News. I’ll continue writing regularly about consumer health care for KHN, just not every Tuesday. With the added flexibility I want to be able to now and then take a broader look at some of the consumer health areas I’ve been writing about over the years. I hope you will keep reading and giving me feedback.
I couldn’t do this work without a lot of help. Thanks to the many, many smart and thoughtful pros who’ve carved out time to talk with me again and again to help me understand the devil-in-the-details of medicine, health law and policy. I expect I’ll be calling on some of you this week to chat.
Thanks also to the amazing team of committed journalists at KHN who produce such great work day in and day out. They are an inspiration.
Most of all, I’d like to thank the many people who’ve shared their stories with me over the years and allowed me to write about them. People like Kristen Catton, who faced thousands of dollars in bills when her health plan changed how it covered her multiple sclerosis drug. Or Phyllis Petruzzelli, who avoided a hospital stay for pneumonia by being “admitted” to her living room through a hospital-at-home program. Those experiences explain health policy in personal terms for readers, and I’m so grateful to the many people who’ve trusted me to tell their stories.
And I hope you’ll keep on doing so! Hearing from real readers about their boots-on-the-ground experiences in the health care trenches, as it were, is invaluable.
Please let me know what’s on your mind and how the system is working for you. You can reach me at Andrews.KHN@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.