Open enrollment for health care ends Dec. 15, but one-third of Americans remain unaware of deadline

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News About a third of Americans haven’t heard anything about open enrollment for federally subsidized health insurance, and nearly half of them say they are hearing less about it this year than last year, according to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s a problem, especially in Kentucky, where about 265,000 people had no health coverage...

Ky’s children improved on several health measures in last year, but many counties remain far behind

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News More Kentucky children than ever have health insurance, fewer Kentucky teens are getting pregnant, fewer mothers are smoking during pregnancy, and the state has fewer low-birthweight babies – but that’s not the case in every county, according to the annual Kentucky Kids Count report. The report, released Nov. 15 by Kentucky Youth Advocates, is part of...

Still without insurance, not Medicaid eligible, you might qualify for free policy; deadline Dec. 15

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Premiums are higher for health insurance through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but federal subsidies mean the total cost will be about the same. And many people will qualify for subsidies large enough to completely pay for a low-cost “bronze” plan — or make it less than the penalty for not having health insurance. To find an...

ACA enrollment is on through Dec. 15; sign up early for assistance and compare plans, experts advise

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Sign up early, make sure you compare costs and plans and make an early appointment with your “application assister.” That was the advice given on an Oct. 31 Kaiser Family Foundation webinar offering open enrollment advice to consumers in Kentucky, as well as in Tennessee and Virginia. Open enrollment began Nov. 1 for 2018 health insurance plans sold...

National health care debate now turns to the Senate with questions about what McConnell will do

What will the U.S. Senate, led by Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, do with the health legislation that the House sent it Thursday? “Senate Republicans were in no mood for celebration,” like their House colleagues and President Trump did, The Washington Post reports. “Instead, they sent an unmistakable message: When it comes to health care, we’re going to do our own thing.” Republican...

The Rural Blog: Opioid epidemic persists because drug does too good a job of eliminating pain

One of the biggest barriers to beating the nation’s opioid epidemic, which is disproportionately rural, could be that the painkillers do as intended: make the pain go away, says a report by The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation. Also, users see opioids as far less addictive and dangerous than do their household members who are not using painkillers. “The Centers for Disease...

Kentucky schools working to increase student movement to promote better learning, health

As the new school year begins, several Kentucky schools are working to increase student movement, with one elementary school in Louisville investing in a programs to increase student movement in the classroom to improve learning and four in Western Kentucky increasing movement outside the classroom to improve health. Students in seven Wilder Elementary classrooms in Louisville came back to classrooms...

Corporate business plans, not local need, drive rural hospital closures, Kaiser report says

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward The number of rural hospital closures has increased every year since the Great Recession. A new report looks at three communities, including one in Kentucky, to learn why they lost their hospitals, and what happened when they did. Large, corporate hospital operators have closed rural healthcare facilities based on their business interests and haven’t considered...

Rural Blog: Lack of doctors and insurers, hospital closures and more make rural health outlook ‘grim’

“In many rural counties, due to a range of contributing factors — including a shortage of doctors, a sicker-than-anticipated population, lack of competition in the marketplace, the closing of hospitals and a raging opioid crisis — the outlook is grim” for health care under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, John Collins writes for the liberal magazine In These Times. Collins...

Studies show many Americans having trouble affording high out-of-pocket medical costs

The United States has entered the era of high out-of-pocket medical cost as a way to keep insurance premiums low, but recent studies have found that many Americans are having trouble paying them, and the presidential candidates are hardly talking about this issue, Harris Meyer reports for Modern Healthcare. Nearly 25 percent of Americans surveyed last September who had coverage through employer plans,...

Kaiser poll: Government, doctors not doing enough to combat prescription drug and heroin abuse

Most Americans don’t think governments and doctors are doing enough to combat prescription drug and heroin abuse, growing concerns in rural areas, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. The telephone survey of 1,201 adults found that 67 percent said their state government is not doing enough to fight prescription drugs, and 61 percent said the same of heroin. Doctors didn’t score...

UnitedHealth Group to stop offering state insurance plans through Affordable Care marketplace

UnitedHealth Group Inc. won’t be participating in Kentucky’s individual insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act marketplace next year, which could leave about 20 percent of the state with just one insurer to choose from for next year and another 22 percent with only two choices, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Including Kentucky, this brings the...