Health Insurance

US health insurers raise rates to match increase in usage

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — After putting off routine health care for much of the pandemic, Americans are now returning to doctors’ offices in big numbers — a trend that’s starting to show up in higher insurance rates across the country.

Health insurers in individual marketplaces across 13 states and Washington D.C. will raise rates an average of 10% next year, according to a review of rate filings by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That’s a big increase after premiums remained virtually flat for several years during the pandemic as insurers seek to recoup costs for more people using their policies, combined with record-high inflation that is driving up prices for virtually everything, including health care.

The rates review included Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont and Washington.

“We’re at a point in the pandemic where people are using health care that they

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A Retirement Journey: Health Insurance Issues

Over the past two weeks, we’ve focused on the story of Bob, a recent retiree. We’ve gone over his pre-retirement experience and his journey through the processing of his retirement application. This week, we’ll look at his health insurance choices.

Bob has an ongoing dilemma when it comes to health insurance. He arguably doesn’t really need Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage or Medicare, because he is a veteran with a service-connected disability. That means all of his medical needs (service-connected and otherwise) are provided by the Veterans Health Administration, at no charge. VHA does bill private insurers (including those in FEHB) for the non-service connected care it provides.

Nevertheless, Bob enrolled in FEHB during his civilian service at the Federal Aviation Administration for a couple of reasons: in case he should need it for a future spouse, should he remarry, and in order to meet the requirement of

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Health insurance giant Empire pulls out of NYC’s controversial Medicare plan for retired city workers

A major insurance company has pulled out of a deal to administer New York City’s new Medicare Advantage Plan — the latest setback in the city’s effort to shift roughly 250,000 retired municipal workers onto the controversial health coverage.

Empire BlueCross BlueShield, one of the country’s largest health insurance providers, notified Mayor Adams’ office that it’s not going to help roll out the Advantage plan after the city failed to provide a start date and benefit specifics as requested by July 15, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

“This timeline was important because delaying any further would not give retirees enough time to fully understand their options, benefits, and coverage in advance of open enrollment,” the statement read. “Given the level of uncertainty at this time, we informed the city that (Empire) is not able to participate.”

In light of Empire’s withdrawal, City Hall spokesman Jonah Allon said

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How to avoid a tax surprise from marketplace health coverage

Kateryna Onyshchuk | iStock | Getty Images

If your income is trending much higher this year than you anticipated, it’s likely a welcome shift.

However, for anyone who gets their private health insurance through the public marketplace, that extra cash could mean an unexpected tax bill when they prepare their 2022 return next spring. A midyear income check could help avoid that.

Basically, if you receive premium subsidies (technically, advance tax credits) through the marketplace, having annual income that’s higher than what you estimated when you enrolled could mean you’re not entitled to as much aid as you’re receiving. And any overage would need to be paid back at tax time.

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Report changes that may affect insurance subsidies

“You really should go

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Retiree health insurance to end for new administrators in Buffalo schools | Education

Lifetime health insurance is about to become a thing of the past for administrators in the Buffalo Public Schools.

Administrators hired after July 2023 will not be eligible for health insurance paid for by the district after they retire, under the terms of a new contract approved this week by the School Board. 

“It is significant. It’s something the district had pursued for at least the last two collective bargaining agreements,” said Robert Boreanaz, the attorney for the Buffalo Council of Supervisors and Administrators.

Over the years, Boreanaz said, Buffalo had become one of the few districts in New York State still providing retirees with health insurance.

Administrators hired prior to July 2023 will remain eligible for retiree health insurance.

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Those hired after July 2023 will have the option of selling back to the district up to 120 unused sick days to be used toward

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N.J. public workers face big increase in health insurance rates in coming year

Hundreds of thousands of public workers, early retireesm and school employees in New Jersey are facing potential rate increases of as much as 24% for health benefits under proposals being considered by the State Health Benefits Commission.

Rate increases being considered include a 24% increase for medical and a 3.7% increase for pharmacy benefits for active public workers, as well as a 15.6% increase in medical and a 26.1% increase in pharmacy benefits for public workers who retired before the age of 65, according to an email sent to county administrators from New Jersey Association of Counties Executive Director John Donnadio.

Donnadio said in the email that the figures, which haven’t been made public, were shared by an insurance and benefits broker.

StateTreasury spokeswoman Jennifer Sciortino acknowledged rate increases were being considered and added that rates for active members and early retirees would likely increase between 12-20% across the various

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Californians brace for increased healthcare premiums if federal subsidies expire

For the last two years, Syd Winlock has had a major burden lifted from his surgically repaired shoulder.

Federal subsidies passed as part of a temporary pandemic relief package have drastically cut how much he pays in healthcare premiums, allowing the Sacramento-area small-business owner to purchase an insurance plan during the last two years that provided better coverage for his shoulder and knee replacements.

Those federal subsidies, however, will expire at the end of this year if Congress does not extend the program. His “very manageable” price — about $700 a month for him and his wife — will increase to $2,300, Winlock said.

“Even if we went to a lesser-type policy, it would still be about $1,800 a month,” Winlock, 63, said. “I mean, that’s more than my mortgage.”

Roughly 150,000 lower- and middle-income Californians would be similarly priced out of coverage by the rising premiums if

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Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision could affect health insurance coverage

Abortion rights demonstrators protest outside the United States Supreme Court as the court rules in the Dobbs v Women’s Health Organization abortion case, overturning the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2022. 

Jim Bourg | Reuters

Even when Roe v. Wade was in effect and women had the legal right to an abortion no matter where they lived in the U.S., health insurance coverage of the procedure was limited.

Many states restrict what plans can cover, and a decadeslong national law bans the use of federal funds for abortions, meaning that women on Medicaid and Medicare were often not covered when it came to pregnancy terminations.

With abortion now expected to be prohibited in at least half the states after the landmark decision protecting women’s right to an abortion was overturned by the Supreme Court last week, coverage will only become rarer, experts say.

More

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Half million Floridians could lose health insurance in 2023, study says

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — If the federal Premium Tax Credits expire due to legislative inaction in U.S. Congress, over half a million Floridians will lose their health insurance. The PTCs were set up through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which temporarily expanded eligibility to pay for health insurance through 2022.

So far, U.S. Congress efforts in the House and Senate have failed to finalize a plan to extend the PTC credits, putting over 3 million people at risk of losing their health care coverage, purchased through the market set up by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Of the 3.12 million across the U.S., based on estimates by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute, 513,000 of those who would lose their insurance are Florida residents. That’s 16% of Americans at risk

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When Does Health Insurance Cover Abortions?

Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last week, Americans who live in areas that ban abortion now must travel out-of-state in order to receive the medical care they’re seeking.

On top of the financial burden created by travel alone, abortions can cost anywhere from $350 to over $1,500. But depending on the state you live in and your insurance provider, health insurance can cover some or all of the bill. 

Insider spoke with two health policy experts about which insurance plans cover abortion, and questions to ask your provider in the post-Roe era. 

Which types of insurance plans cover abortion? 

State policies on abortion health insurance coverage.

State policies on abortion health insurance coverage.


KFF



After the fall of Roe v. Wade, many companies across the US announced they would cover travel costs for employees seeking out-of-state medical care. 

Employer health insurance falls into two categories: fully-insured plans and self-insured plans. A fully-insured

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