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Health exchanges again extend open enrollment

Individuals can shop for health coverage and may qualify for premium subsidy (reduced premiums) to begin the first of the following month. Your Health Idaho has extended enrollment until April 30, 2021Washington Health...

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ID & WA Health Exchanges Extend Open Enrollment

Idaho's Health Exchange, Your Health Idaho, has extended open enrollment until Thursday, December 31st, to apply for a tax credit, select a plan, and enroll in coverage that begins January 1, 2021. Washington State has...

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Q & A: What now? I’ve lost my health insurance!

We printed this Q&A column in the May 10, 2020 edition of The Lewiston Tribune. Q: What now? I’ve lost my health insurance! A: We can help! If you have lost your health insurance because of the COVID-19 Pandemic...

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Regence & St. Joe's reach agreement retroactive to Jan. 15

Updated Feb. 5, 2020 The certified Health Agents at American Insurance are pleased to announce the news from Regence BlueShield of Idaho that they have reached a new multi-year agreement that ensures their members can...

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Pre-Tax Premiums for individual plans under new HRA plan begin in 2020

Small employers and their employees will be able to pay for individual ACA medical plans with pre-tax premiums through an expansion of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). The new “Individual Coverage HRA” (ICHRA)...

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Prevention for pneumonia this fall

Did you know about 1 million Americans go to the hospital with pneumonia every year? Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by pneumococcal disease, which can also cause blood infections and meningitis. The bacteria that...

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HHS releases plan for lower drug costs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that HHS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are publishing a Safe Importation Action Plan that outlines two potential pathways that...

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Q & A: Can I buy medical insurance when Exchanges are closed?

We printed this Q&A column in the Jan. 10, 2019 edition of The Lewiston Tribune. Q: Can I buy medical insurance when Exchanges are closed? A: The answer is “NO” – unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period! ...

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103,000 sign up through Idaho Exchange for 2019

More than 103,154 Idahoans enrolled in health insurance coverage for the 2019 plan year during open enrollment held from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2018, through Your Health Idaho, the state’s health insurance marketplace....

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ACA premium tax credits require 2017 tax filing

The Idaho and Washington health exchanges are reminding area residents who have not yet filed a federal tax return to do so by the Tax Day deadline or risk losing access to future tax credits. Customers who enrolled...

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Q & A: Can I buy subsidized Medical Insurance now?

We printed this Q&A column in the Nov. 10, 2017 edition of The Lewiston Tribune. Q: Can I buy subsidized Medical Insurance now? A: Yes, ACA Health Exchanges are now open! Open Enrollment began on Nov. 1st and will...

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Shorter ACA Enrollment Period for 2018

Individuals, small employers, employees, dependents, college students – anyone who relies on individual medical insurance coverage – must apply during open enrollment unless they are renewing existing coverage at a diff...

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ACA Premium Subsidies Continue

Premium Subsidies Are Not Changed. To clarify, this information from recent news articles is NOT referring to the premium subsidies (tax credits) that lower the health insurance premiums paid by qualifying lower income...

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Update on ACA Exchanges

American Insurance is following the latest developments regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At the publication of this article, enrollments and renewals of ACA Medical Plans will proceed as scheduled. You can count...

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Open Enrollment Time For ACA Medical And Medicare

There are two “open enrollment periods” that are critically important for individuals and seniors. These limited time periods are the only times that new ACA (Affordable Care Act) Medical plans can be purchased or...

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Idaho Individual Medical Premiums Increase for 2018

American Insurance health agents are certified to show all options to local clients. - Individual medical plan premiums through Your Health Idaho, the Idaho exchange, are going up in 2018. The Idaho Department of...

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Q & A: Can I buy subsidized Medical Insurance now?

We printed this Q&A column in today's edition (on Oct. 10, 2017) of The Lewiston Tribune. Q: Can I buy subsidized Medical Insurance now? A: As you may have heard, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), was not...

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Q & A: What is the status of Obamacare?

We printed this Q&A column in the Dec. 10, 2017 edition of The Lewiston Tribune. Q: What is the status of Obamacare? - A: It may take as long as three years for the Trump / Republican repeal of the Affordable Care...

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Q&A: When can I buy individual medical insurance?

We printed this Q&A column in the Nov. 10, 2017 edition of The Lewiston Tribune. Q: When can I buy individual medical insurance? - A: You can only buy or change your individual medical insurance plan during “Open...

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Medical premium, network changes for 2017

Major changes in medical premiums and provider networks are coming in 2017. Open enrollment began Nov. 1 in the Idaho and Washington Health Exchange Marketplaces. Anyone who needs or is covered under an Individual...

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'Grandmothered' health plans ending

Days are numbered for “grandmothered” small group medical plans. The so-called “grandmothered” medical plans are those small groups purchased from March 23, 2010 to Oct. 1, 2013 that are not yet ACA (Affordable Care Act)...

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Scam alert - Health insurance enrollment

The Idaho Department of Insurance is alerting Idaho residents about a possible scam by a company using deceptive practices to market health insurance in Idaho. Your Health Idaho, Idaho’s health insurance exchange, has...

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Premera’s new bill pay portal opens

Premera Blue Cross has launched a new, easy-to-use bill payment portal for their members. Customers who currently pay their bills online will receive an email notifying them of the new portal and the action they should...

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Helping businesses find health coverage for employees

Local agents with AMERICAN INSURANCE in Lewiston can help area business owners find qualified individual health insurance coverage for your employees, their spouses and dependents to meet health care mandates. “We...

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New Flu Drug Funded by HHS

A new drug provides a novel approach to treating patients with influenza and will advance in development with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for...

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Student health insurance options explained

Lewis-Clark State College will no longer offer a Student Health Insurance Program (or SHIP) this fall, due to a change by the Idaho State Board of Education. Other regional schools that also have no SHIP include:...

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7 Tips for Managing Stress

We can all use some help managing stress in our lives. Here are 7 very practical, free and easy tips for managing daily anxieties from Business Psychology Associates (BPA). THE BINGE & PURGE PROBLEM: Do you...

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ACA Exchange Subsidies Secured - Supreme Court

The latest legal attack on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. In KING v. BURWELL, plantiff's argued that the plain language in PPACA says...

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ACA Health Exchanges - More Savings & Options

New choices and more competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace are giving consumers affordable options during Open Enrollment this year, and the majority of returning consumers who shop can save money on premiums,...

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ACA $840M Initiative Focused on Health Outcomes

A new initiative will change the way your doctor and health care providers delivery their services to you. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced an initiative that will fund successful...

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Action Needed to Renew WA Healthplanfinder

If you are currently enrolled in a health care plan through Washington Healthplanfinder, you will need to renew your coverage for next year. Customers who signed up for a Qualified Health Plan last year will be eligible...

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Hospitals May Recover $5.7B Due To ACA

A report released by the Department of Health and Human Services projects that hospitals will save $5.7 billion this year in uncompensated care costs because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). States that have expanded...

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"Limited" ACA Special Enrollment for WA Residents

Up to 8% of the 164,000 Health Exchange customers of the Washington HealthPlanFinder experienced on-going billing and administrative problems. This caused some Washington residents to go without insurance, lose their...

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Idaho Health Exchange Getting Ready

The Idaho Health Exchange, Your Health Idaho, is preparing to launch its own state exchange software platform prior to the 2015 Open Enrollment which begins on November 15, 2014. Last year, Idaho was a Federally...

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Oregon's Health Website Woes Spark Lawsuit

ProgramBusiness.com reports that the state of Oregon filed a lawsuit Friday against Oracle Corp. and several of its executives over the technology company's role in creating the troubled website for the state's online...

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2015 Health Care Costs Rising

Large U.S. employers expect a significant increase in 2015 health care costs. If no adjustments are made employers project a 5.2% growth rate, putting absolute cost per person for health care benefits at an all-time...

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Obamacare ACA Federal Subsidies At Risk

A US appeals court ruled against Obamacare subsidies for policies issued through the Federal Health Exchanges. In the case, Halbig v. Sebelius, 14-5018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that...

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COBRA Enrollees Get Limited ACA Access

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recently announced a new Special Enrollment Period for individuals and families that are currently enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage, known as the federal Consolidated Omnibus...

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Buying Individual Medical Plans After Open Enrollment?

When "Open Enrollment" is closed, individuals seeking medical insurance can only do so if they have a "Qualifying Life Event" which opens a "Special Enrollment Period" (SEP). If you qualify for a SEP then you can apply...

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Keeping "Grandmothered" Health Plans Extended

Keeping your current non-grandfathered individual or small group medical plan (also referred to as "grandmothered" plans) has been extended for policies with annual renewals on or before October 1, 2016. This provides...

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Alzheimer's - What is our National Plan?

Nearly all of us know someone that is touched by the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease. You may find some comfort to know that there is a National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease with a 2014 update released by the US...

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Agents Credited For Idaho's ACA Success

"Idaho's success in enrolling consumers during the 2014 enrollment period is due, in no small part, to the many Idaho insurance agents and brokers who provided invaluable assistance to Idaho citizens," said William (...

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HIPAA Fines of $2M for Stolen Laptops

Two entities have paid the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) $1,975,220 collectively to resolve potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (...

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Be Healthy From The Start

"Be Healthy From the Start" is the main theme for National Public Health Week, April 6 - 12. HHS credits the Affordable Care Act's establishment of preventative services and the new National Prevention Council with...

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ObamaCare Open Enrollment Closed! Sort Of?

An extended "Special Enrollment Period" was announced by The White House to allow more time to finish health insurance enrollments with glitches or other special circumstances. The Health Exchange Marketplace was...

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Health Exchange "Open Enrollment" Closing

What happens when the Health Exchange Marketplace "Open Enrollment Period" closes on March 31st? This is the next question as American's struggle to understand and comply with the massive, complicated and ever changing...

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Keep Your Current Health Plan Extended

The "keep your current health insurance plan" promise by President Obama is being extended even further. The Obama administration announced that Americans can keep their health plans that are non-compliant with the...

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Regence - Can I Keep My Plan?

Can I keep my plan? It depends says the Regence Group which does business in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Utah. - Fall 2013 promised to be a dynamic time in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, with the launch of...

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Only Agents Can Explain Exchange Plans

The Idaho and Washington State Health Exchanges including their navigators (online and phone assistants) will not explain or recommend any insurance plans offered in the exchanges. They feel that experienced and...

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Who Needs Health Exchange Quotations?

The new Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace isn't just for the uninsured! Almost everyone needs to take a serious look at their own state's Health Exchange Marketplace before January 1, 2014. Here's who should obtain...

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$3.9B Health Premiums Saved In 2012

The Obama administration claims that consumers saved $3.9 billion on their premiums in 2012 due to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that...

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ACA Employer Mandate Delayed Until 2015

The penalties imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on large employers (50+ employees) has been delayed one year in an announcement by the Treasury Department for the Obama Administration. In the announcement by Mark...

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Hospital Charges Exposed & Vary Widely

New data shows significant variation across the country and within communities in what hospitals charge for common inpatient services. Also, HHS made approximately $87 million available to states to enhance their rate...

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Health Centers Funded For AFA Enrollment

Republicans renew call to repeal the entire healthcare law while the Obama administration is providing $150 million for health centers to offer Affordable Health Care (AHC) enrollment assistance nationwide. House of...

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New Health Care Apps Shorter

Now a new series of shorter and easier applications have been released by CMS. Stinging from criticism that the new Health Care applications were too long and too complicated, the Obama administration went back to the...

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Health Agents Play Critical Role

Agents and brokers will play a critical role in helping consumers access health insurance coverage through Affordable Insurance Exchanges or Health Insurance Marketplaces, according to an announcement today by The...

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Quiz Yourself On Health Reform

Test your knowledge on key items from The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The health reform law promises to deliver big changes in the U.S. health care system. But, as with other sweeping pieces of...

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Health Reform Hits Main Street - Kaiser

Confused about how the new health reform law really works? Get answers in just 9 minutes by watching this animated movie from The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. Click Health Reform Hits Main Street, featuring the "...

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Heath Care Reform Overview - ADP

A free replay of the webinar "Health Care Reform: Strategies to Help Control Costs, Mitigate Risk, & Decrease Penalties," has been made available by ADP ®, a leading provider of employer health care benefits...

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Feds To Pay 100% New Medicaid Cost

The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of certain newly eligible adult Medicaid beneficiaries effective January 1, 2014. The final rule was announced today by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary...

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32% Rise in Health Claims Projected

Health claim costs per member, per month for non-group individual health insurance plans will increase 32% under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a key finding in the Society of Actuaries study release in March 2013....

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BATTLE FOR ID STATE EXCHANGE

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter needs citizen support in his battle for a state-based Health Exchange. After winning a hard fought battle in the Idaho House on Wednesday, the legislation now goes again to the Idaho...

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5 Key Health Care Provisions Finalized

A final rule that implements five key consumer protections from the Affordable Care Act were issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). "Because of the Affordable Care Act, being denied...

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Final Rules for "Essential" Health Benefits

Final rules for "essential" health benefits were announced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The rule outlines health insurance issuer standards for a core package of benefits, called essential...

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Only 11 States Pass Health Care Regs

Only 11 of the 50 US states have moved to implement new consumer safeguards under President Barack Obama's healthcare law according to this Reuters report posted today by Insurance Journal. Read more...

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Idahoans Action Needed For State Health Exchange

Governor Butch Otter is appealing to all Idahoans for help passing legislation for a state based health insurance exchange. Facing opposition from far-right legislators Otter has taken the cause direct to his citizens...

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Just 15 States Opt For State Health Exchanges

Only 15 U.S. states so far plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama's reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting prospect of creating and operating the new online marketplaces in at...

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Health Care Reform - A Closer Look

It appears that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is here to stay. It survived the constitutional challenge in the US Supreme Court and the electoral challenge with the re-election of President...

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Pre-Existing Condition Discrimination Banned

The Obama administration moved forward to implement provisions in the health care law that would make it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions beginning January 1,...

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Medicare Part D Rx Premiums Hold Steady

Basic premiums for Medicare prescription drug plans, on average, are projected to remain constant in 2013, Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius announced today. The average 2013 monthly premium...

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8 New Preventative Services Free For Women

Women are getting access to eight new prevention-related health care services free beginning Aug. 1, 2012 announced Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The new rules in the health care law...

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Regence Rebates Money to Small Groups

The first Medical Loss Ratio rebate checks were mailed to small groups insured by Regence BlueShield of Idaho on July 16th. This is a rebate on their 2011 premium under the Affordable Care Act's requirement based on...

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Health Savings Account Use Jumps 18%

More than 13.5 million Americans are now covered by Health Savings Account (HSA)-eligible insurance plans, a more than 18 percent increase since last year, according to a new census released by America's Health...

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Doctor Groups Call For LESS Care!

Three different physician events saw national doctor groups calling for less medical care. In a bold and unprecedented announcement, they say doctors need to use clinical evidence to make care decisions. This can help...

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New pain meds approved to lessen abuse

Skyrocketing costs for opioid pain management and abuse is damaging the health care and workers compensation systems. Dan Reynolds, managing editor of Risk & Insurance writes "An intense national focus on the...

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What is driving health care spending?

The newly formed Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) compared data from 2009 to 2010 showing that pure price increases for care rather than increased utilization is driving spending higher. In fact, the number of hospital...

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WA & OR Take Health Exchange Grants

Washington and Oregon were among the six new states to take Health Exchange grants to implement the new health care law. Idaho, a highly conservative and Republican majority state, snubbed HHS and did not take the...

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Obesity's Heavy Health Care Cost

Obesity now accounts for almost 21 percent of U.S. health care costs -- more than twice the previous estimates, reports a revised Cornell University study. The research, originally done in 2010, was the first to show...

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Healthcare Costs Now Exceed $20,000 Per Family - Milliman Study

A typical American family of four receiving healthcare through an employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan now pays $20,728. This according to the latest study by Milliman, Inc., a premier global...

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4th Leading Cause of Death Is?

1 in 3 U.S. adults-an estimated 68 million of us-have this and it is the "silent killer". Untreated high blood pressure, also called hypertension can damage the heart, brain, and kidneys without a single symptom. Each...

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Idaho's Health Insurance Exchange - On Hold

What is the status of the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange? The US Supreme Court will be making its decision in June whether all, part or none of the Affordable Care Act will stand as constitutional. So, the Idaho...

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WA Gets $6.6M Health Care Grant

Ten states including Washington State received grants to provide early childhood support and home visits to families who volunteer to receive these services, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius...

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New Health Care Rule Saves $4.6B

A proposed rule that would establish a unique "health plan identifier" under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was announced today by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)...

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New Health Exchange Rules Released

New rules released today will offer states substantial flexibility as they design a health insurance exchange marketplace that works for their residents. The Idaho Legislature said "no thanks" this week and has failed...

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Lifetime Limits For Health Plans End

The maximum benefit limits under medical insurance plans for an individual's lifetime have been eliminated under the Affordable Care Act. "For years, Americans with lifetime caps imposed on their health insurance...

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Which Health Services Are Now Free?

Don't forget you have free preventative services to use in 2012! "Americans of all ages can now get the preventive services they need, like mammograms and the new Annual Wellness Visit, free of charge, as a result of...

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"Plain Language" Health Policies Required

Do you have trouble understanding health insurance? People in the market for health insurance will soon have clear, understandable and straightforward information on what health plans will cover, what limitations or...

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States To Decide “Essential Health Benefits”

In a surprise move, the Obama Administration has announced that each state can decide what "essential health benefits" will be offered in their state Health Care Exchanges beginning in 2014. Under the Affordable Care...

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Affordable Care Act vs Supreme Court 2012

The US Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitution issues of the Affordable Care Act. The court will hear oral arguments in March and then is expected to render a decision in June 2012. So, President Barack...

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Idaho Receives Health Exchange Grant

Idaho is one of 13 new states to receive grants to help them create Health Insurance Exchanges. The Affordable Care Act mandates that every state have a Health Insurance Exchange, either a state or a federal exchange,...

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2012 Health Care Changes

The Affordable Care Act became law on March 23, 2010. The law's provisions are being implemented on a timeline through January 1, 2015. There are four new items being added in 2012. A brief explanation of each is listed...

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Medicare's Physician Fees Need Fixed

Physicians have faced steep payment cuts annually because of a flawed 1997 law according to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Secretary Sebulius released this...

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2012 Medicare Part B Premiums Lower

Medicare Part B premiums in 2012 will be lower than previously projected and the Part B deductible will decrease by $22 according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While the...

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ObamaCare Heads to Supreme Court

The Obama administration is asking the US Supreme Court to decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act . Political battle lines were drawn since the Act was signed into law in March 2010. As many as 26 States have sued...

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Medicare Annual Election Starts & Ends Early

This year marks an important change in Medicare's annual open enrollment, the time period during which people can choose to change plans or shift from Medicare Advantage to Traditional Medicare. Open Enrollment starts...

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New-Women Get Preventative Services At No Additional Cost

Historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Developed by the independent...

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What did health insurance cost us in 2010?

The median premium cost per employee was $400 per month under private-sector group health insurance plans in 2010 according to a survey just released by the US Dept of Health & Human Services. The Medical...

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Obama Care - One Year Later

March 23rd marked the one-year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The date was marked with numerous events on Capitol Hill and around the country, some celebrating its enactment and...

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9 Million Lose Health Benefits

An estimated 9 million working-age adults became uninsured last year due to recession job losses according to the new Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey. The recession has stripped millions of...

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Health Insurance - Employers Taking Bold Action

Employers are taking bold action to manage health care costs and offer affordable care according to the National Business Group on Health Survey just released by Towers Watson. Over the past year, employers have focused...

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Oregon Gets $48M Health Exchange Grant

Oregon is one of seven states awarded "Early Innovator" grants to design and implement the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure needed to operate Health Insurance Exchanges as part of the Affordable Health Care...

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11 Issues Impact Work Comp in 2011

Every business owner will be impacted by the troubles brewing in workers compensation insurance. Among the top trends identified to watch are - medical costs continue to rise, injured employees are staying out of work...

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5 Facts About the Uninsured for Health Insurance

The number of uninsured rose sharply in 2009, reaching 50 million people. Decreasing the number of uninsured is a key goal of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will provide Medicaid or...

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Denied Health Claims Subject to Review

If you have a health claim denied in Idaho you have the right to the have the decision independently reviewed. This independent review process was instituted as part of Idaho's Health Carrier External Review Act (Title...

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Free Medical Clinic Open for Uninsured

The area's only free medical clinic is serving the uninsured and medically needy of the Lewiston-Clarkston valley. The Snake River Community Clinic (SRCC) has limited hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings on a first...

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Auto Claims Fraud by Medical Providers Rampant

Higher auto insurance rates for New Yorkers is blamed on rampant fraud by unscrupulous medical providers. Health care costs for automobile accident victims in New York increased 42 percent faster than overall medical...

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Professional Liability Costs Rising for Hospitals and Physicians

Hospitals and physicians should prepare for increasing liability costs, according to the 2010 Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Liability Benchmark Analysis created by Aon Risk Solution. In its 11th year,...

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Insurers Spend Millions on Reform Changes

Tens of millions of dollars are being spent by insurance companies to comply with Health Care Reform. September 23rd was a major deadline, ushering in new health benefits for consumers mandated by the Affordable Care...

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Crack down of medical premium hikes funded by HSS

Idaho, Washington and Oregon receive $1M each to police unjustified health insurance premium increases. The Department of Health and Human Services announced the award of $46 million in the first round of grants to...

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New AMA Study: 95 medical liability claims per 100 physicians

On average there is nearly one medical liability claim for every physician. This is one cost driver of higher medical fees passed on to consumers. The AMA reports the high number of claims is not an indication of...

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Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Signed into Law

President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010 H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This sweeping and controversial reform law includes many provisions that will impact employers, employees and...

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