health insurance

money and health
7:06 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Gaining health insurance nationally, not in Washington

Young adults were given the right to join their parents plans back in 2007, so there was no sudden boost in 2011.
Tedeytan Flickr

Despite the difficult economy, more Americans have health insurance than a year ago, according to newly released census data. One reason: the new “Obamacare” law allows young adults, up to age 26, to stay on their parents’ insurance. Many others qualified for government programs in 2011, such as Medicaid and Medicare.

The pattern is different, though, in Washington state.

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health insurance
11:42 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Breast pumps for free, under new health law provisions

Many hospitals offer the Medela breast pump for rental

Breastfeeding is already a civil right in Seattle, and now it’s getting financial support everywhere. Under new health rules taking effect today, as part of President Obama’s health law, women will get a number of new "preventive" services covered for free (no co-pays). 

The most talked-about new benefit has been contraceptives – and how some Catholic groups prefer not to pay for birth control. 

But seven other provisions now must be covered by nearly all health insurance plans. One of them is breastfeeding supplies and counseling. 

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health insurance
3:36 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Health insurers must give rebates to 5,000 Washington residents

Nearly 5,000 Washington residents are getting rebates on their health insurance, courtesy of the new federal health law.

If you bought an individual health plan from an out-of-state company called Time Insurance, then you should be getting money back. The plans are sold under the brand, Assurant Health. The company sells primarily high-deductible health coverage.

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Health insurance
2:18 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Regence BlueShield seeks insurance rate increase

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Just over a week after the state insurance commissioner said that Regence BlueShield was sitting on record surpluses, the insurance company is asking the state to approve rate increases on people who buy insurance for themselves.

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Health care reform
1:43 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Washington may attempt an individual mandate, if Supreme Court cuts it

A Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s health care law could force Washington state lawmakers to shift gears. They want to prevent a repeat of the 1990's, when the insurance market "went over a cliff," says the state Insurance Commissioner.

That could force them to require state residents to have health insurance. But, their first choice to prevent a health-care "disaster," say Democrats, is to rely on federal subsidies to keep insurance affordable.

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health insurance
5:50 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Want to pay less for medical care? ... find a better deal online

Not all MRIs cost the same -- and now some insurance companies help you compare costs and save.
The Bs Flickr

If you have high-deductible health insurance – possibly paying $2,000 or more out of pocket – the price of every test or procedure matters a lot. In theory, you should shop around.

But, that’s easier said than done, as Seattle real estate broker Steven Wayne discovered: He ran through his $3,800 deductible, pretty quickly, after a recent series of fainting spells.

Now, new online tools can help you compare real costs.

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health insurance
10:33 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Centerpiece of health care reform launches in Washington

Consultant David Smith of GMMB recommended this name and logo for the new entity currently called the Health Benefits Exchange - but it made some board members nervous.

Washington is one of the first states to begin tackling the requirements of President Obama's health care reform, even though the U.S. Supreme Court will approve or kill the controversial national system this summer.

The fist step in the reform is to create a Health Benefits Exchange. Each state is supposed to create its own insurance exchange as a new way for individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance.

Washington's board set up to create this exchange had its first meeting on Thursday.

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health insurance
1:02 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Washington's uninsured: One million people

Losing your job often means losing your health insurance – and that’s reflected in the latest numbers of uninsured people in Washington. It’s approaching one million, or 14.5 percent of the population, according to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

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Insurance fight
11:50 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Regence BlueShield fined $100,000 over IUD removal

OLYMPIA, Wash. – One of Washington’s largest health insurers faces a hefty fine for refusing to pay for the removal of a certain type of birth control device.

Regence BlueShield will pay a $100,000 penalty for improperly denying claims from nearly 1,000 women. The women had their IUDs removed because the device was outdated or they wanted to try to have a baby.

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Health care reform
9:42 am
Fri August 5, 2011

New rules for insuring state's poor cause flurry of competition

Dr. Peggy Eaton sees low-income patients at a community health clinic in Seattle.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

"There's a lot of courting going on ..."

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In Washington, there are more people on Medicaid than there are kids in public school – 1.2 million. And that number will grow significantly in 2014 when the new federal health care overhaul kicks-in.

The expansion has triggered a high-stakes competition for state contracts to provide Medicaid coverage.

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Medical costs
9:03 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Learning why health insurance rates go up

Health insurance rates are going up and policies are changing for many people who have an individual plan or work at a small business. Those increases can be maddening and mystifying.

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Washington State Legislature
8:15 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Audit on K-12 health benefits runs afoul of unions

Majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature are working to close a multi-billion dollar budget gap. But they're not likely to implement a change the State Auditor says could save $180 million over the two-year budget cycle, as the idea runs afoul of the powerful teacher's union.

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Health Insurance
3:33 am
Wed December 8, 2010

Kreidler rejects Regence rate hike

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has rejected a new rate increase requested by one of the state’s largest health insurers.  It’s the second time in recent months Kreidler has sparred with Regence BlueShield. 

Regence is seeking a 3.7% increase for its Washington customers, including the Asuris subsidiary, starting January first, to cover the cost of new benefits required by the federal health law.  This applies to its individual insurance plans, not to plans provided through employers.

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Health Insurance
3:16 am
Mon November 15, 2010

Open enrollment season and Medicare changes

Open enrollment time for Medicare puts the spotlight on recent changes and effects on prescription drug benefits.
iStock


We’ve been hearing a lot about the politics of health care lately.  In the meantime, many employers are in open enrollment season, making for a confusing month when it comes to health insurance.  And for seniors on Medicare,  November brings the annual dilemma about prescription drugs.

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