Up to a half million people who signed up for insurance on federally run health exchanges could lose coverage or have to pay higher premiums because of paperwork inconsistencies, the Independent Voter Network reports. The Center’s Shana Alex Charles said some people may not have read “the fine print” or may have misrepresented themselves and find they no longer qualify for subsidies.
The story is based on a report in the Los Angeles Times, which said about 115,000 people haven’t verified their citizenship or immigration status, and 363,000 people haven’t verified their income. Comparable information was not given for the 14 states that run their own marketplaces.
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The three largest soda companies say they aim to cut sugary drink calories by 20 percent in American diets by 2025 through marketing, distribution and packaging efforts, according to a New York Times story. The Center’s Susan Babey, a senior research scientist, has written about the link between sugary drinks and teen obesity in her policy brief, Still Bubbling Over: California Adolescents Drinking More Soda and Other Sugar-Sweetened Beverages. In a brief interview, Babey discusses the soda companies’ new campaign.
California women age 65 and older who are unmarried or lack a partner are 40 percent more likely than older women who are partnered to have mild to severe psychological distress, according to California Health Interview Survey data cited in a California Research Bureau study.
About 15 percent of the unpartnered older women who sought or thought they needed help with their mental health lacked insurance or had a health plan that didn’t cover mental health care. Economically, older unpartnered women were much less financially secure than women who were partnered, with 45 percent living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, compared to 25 percent of partnered older women.
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About 450,000 frail, elderly “dual eligibles” – those who had health benefits under both Medi-Cal and Medicare – are being moved into a managed care pilot program, as outlined in a study by HOME Project director Kathryn Kietzman. But a story in New American Media says many in the program are struggling with the change and don’t understand their health care choices and rights.
The story highlights problems encountered by dual eligible Filipinos, some with limited English skills and lower educational levels, who were unaware they had to choose to opt out of the three-year pilot program, which enrolled beneficiaries automatically. The story said advocacy groups have unsuccessfully tried to sue the state to halt the program until problems are resolved.
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Hospital administrative costs in the U.S. account for 25.3 percent of total hospital costs, compared to 15.5 percent in England’s single-payer health care system, according to a study cited by WBUR-Boston.
The Health Affairs study looked at several countries in 2010 and found that Scotland had the smallest proportion of hospital costs going to administration, 11.7 percent, followed by Canada with 12.4 percent, Wales with 14.2, England with 15.5 percent and the Netherlands with 19.8 percent.
The Center’s Dylan Roby says a solution to the “very fragmented and complex” U.S. health system could be a single-payer system that is “somewhat market-driven … if there’s political support for it.”
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