Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Americans who had coronavirus symptoms in March and April are getting big hospital bills — because they were not sick enough to get then-scarce COVID tests. Some insurers say they are trying to correct these bills, but patients may have to put up a fight.
Jane Collins and Anthony Blow were stunned to learn last fall that their state tax refund was being reduced by $110 because the Charlottesville medical center said they owed money for care their son received in 2001 and 2002.
Some large employers interpreted themselves as exempt from new federal laws that say tests for the coronavirus should be free to patients. Large academic medical centers are holding back from sending bills to these patients to avoid a backlash over surprise billing.
Politicians pledged to stop providers from charging for video appointments or telephone calls, but some patients are being charged $70 or $80 per virtual visit.
Language in the CARES Act says providers who take emergency funding cannot balance-bill coronavirus patients ― and “every patient” is considered a possible COVID-19 patient.
Hidden costs for ER visits and other fees could cost people thousands of dollars.
Most hospitals must offer free or reduced-cost care to certain patients, based on income, even if they have insurance. But some hospitals erect barriers to charity care, so it’s up to patients to advocate for themselves.
Surprise bills are just the latest weapons in a decades-long war among health care industry players over who gets to keep the fortunes generated each year from patient illness: $3.6 trillion in 2018. The practice is an outrage, yet no one in the health care sector wants to unilaterally make the type of big concessions that would change things.
KHN highlights some of the creative valentines posted on Twitter by health policy enthusiasts.
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget includes billions of dollars in health spending cuts, Congress gets back to work on surprise medical bills, and health care remains a top issue for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), a former Health and Human Services secretary, joins the panel at a special taping before a live audience in Washington, D.C. Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
As lawmakers consider bills to protect patients against surprise medical bills, doctors have waged a stealth on-the-ground campaign to win over members of Congress. Here’s how they did it.
By writing in payment limits when signing hospital forms, patients might have leverage in negotiations over disputes that arise from surprise medical bills.
The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers cover birth control with no out-of-pocket costs, but the enforcement mechanism is weak and a pending court case could add further complications.
As the Democratic primary campaign nears pivotal voting, important aspects of health care policy are being overlooked.
California lawmakers are proposing ambitious health care ideas, from creating a state generic drug label to banning the sale of flavored e-cigarette products. Even though Democrats control state government, they’re likely to face pushback from powerful health care industry groups like hospitals.
A new state law limits what consumers owe if they’re transported by an air ambulance that’s not part of their insurance network to the amount that they’d be charged if they used an in-network provider. But the law won’t protect millions of consumers whose health plans aren’t regulated by the state.
A New York City woman, worried that her sore throat might be strep, got swabbed at her doctor’s office. The sample was sent to an out-of-network lab for sophisticated DNA tests ― with a price tag similar to a new SUV.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has agreed with a lower court that a key piece of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. But it is sending the case back to the lower-court judge to decide how much of the rest of the law can stand. Also, Congress is leaving town after finishing work on a major spending bill that includes many changes to health policy. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more.
The Texas Medical Board bowed out of the rule-making process for a new law protecting consumers from surprise medical bills. Advocates hailed the new rules written by the state insurance regulators.
A legislative compromise on how to curb unexpected out-of-network medical bills has made recent progress. But many insiders expect work to continue into 2020.