Insuring Your Health

In a new KHN feature, Michelle Andrews writes about the coming changes to health care.

Please send comments or ideas for future topics to questions@kaiserhealthnews.org


See 2011's Insuring Your Health stories. 



Looking At The Changes 2011 Brings
December 22, 2010

Michelle Andrews speaks with KFF’s Jackie Judd about changes in lifetime insurance limits, keeping children insured, the new high-risk pools, rising health costs and consumers’ misperceptions about the overhaul.


Some Policies Restrict Coverage By Limiting Visits To The Doctor
December 21, 2010

The new health law eliminated lifetime and most annual dollar limits for consumers but some plans cut costs by covering only a defined number of doctor appointments, prescriptions or other services.


Few Seniors Have Long-Term Care Insurance
December 14, 2010

Given the complexity of these high-cost policies, experts agree it's tough to decide whether they're right for you.


Health Law's Aim: Multiple Vaccines For More People
December 7, 2010

Adults need vaccines to protect against serious diseases, including shingles, pneumonia and hepatitis. The health reform law, with its emphasis on prevention, will expand coverage to improve vaccination rates, currently too low.


In New Insurance Model, Costs Are Based On Value Of The Treatment
November 30, 2010

More employers are moving toward coverage in which consumers' out-of-pocket medical costs are based on the value of a medical service to their health, rather than its price.


Retirees Can Find Insuring Young Adult Children Difficult
November 23, 2010

Medicare doesn't cover dependents, and many private retiree health plans are not affected by the new health law so they can kick young adults out after school ends.


Many Individual Policies Do Not Cover Pregnancy                                                                                          
November 16, 2010

Women and families buying insurance on their own often find that the plans do not cover any of the usual expenses associated with having a baby.


OTC Medicines Cut From 2011 Flexible Spending Accounts 
November 9, 2010

The new federal health law bars payments for over items such as aspirin, vitamins and cough medicine from the popular accounts set up with pretax dollars. Consumers can still get the coverage if their doctors will write a prescription for the medicines.


Seniors Should Consider Changes in Medicare Part D Plans  
November 2, 2010

Open season begins later this month and Medicare beneficiaries need to check their options to make sure they are signed up for the plan that best meets their needs.


High Risk Pools For People With Medical Issues Start Slowly
October 26, 2010

Response has been modest and reviews are mixed for insurance plans set up by the federal health law for people with medical problems.


Open Insurance Season May Bring Sticker Shock 
October 12, 2010

A guide for workers in open season on what could be changing or becoming more costly in their plans’ charges for premiums, deductibles, dependent coverage and wellness options.


New Laws Expand Mental Health Coverage
October 5, 2010

Insurance coverage of mental illness and addiction problems often is skimpier than for physical illness. But that is changing with the mental health parity law that took effect earlier this year and the new health overhaul.


Health Law Calls For Breast Cancer Warnings To Young Women   
September 28, 2010

Provision aims to raise awareness about the disease to women between the ages of 15 and 44.


Coordinated Care System Helps Physicians Meet More Patient Needs
September 21, 2010

In medical home model, a primary-care doctor leads a team responsible for coordinating and managing all of your care, whether it's making sure you're on top of routine lab tests to keep your diabetes in check or being available in off hours to handle unexpected problems.


Key Health Law Provisions Begin Next Week
September 14, 2010

Some insurers have already altered their plans to reflect the law. But starting this month, a number of key provisions become mandatory for insurance plans, including a ban on lifetime benefit limits and the ability to keep adult children on parents’ plans.


Medicare Will Experiment With Expansion Of Hospice Coverage
September 7, 2010

The health law calls for a demonstration program to test covering hospice treatments for patients still seeking to fight their illness.


Regulators Are Probing Allegations Of Abuse
August 31, 2010

Thousands of dentists and other health providers are offering special credit cards with attractive terms to cover medical expenses. But officials warn of deceptive and sometimes fraudulent practices.


Health Law Requires Continued Coverage For Patients In Clinical Trials
August 24, 2010

In the past, many patients who opted for experimental treatments found that their insurance companies stop covering all routine care for their illness. The health overhaul mandates that coverage continue.


Health Law Expands Medicare Coverage Of Preventive Care
August 10, 2010

In addition, beneficiaries will get free annual wellness visits that include a health risk assessment and a review of functional and cognitive abilities.


Rating Your Doctor  
August 3, 2010

Experts caution that most health plans' doctor-rating systems are still rudimentary, and a high-performance designation may not reliably reflect a doctor's abilities. 


2 New Provisions In Health Law Will Help Seniors
Jul 27, 2010

A look at the new health law’s long-term-care program and the plan to close the Medicare drug doughnut hole.  


Out Of Network ER Visits Won't Cost More Under New Health Law
July 20, 2010

The health overhaul prohibits new insurance plans from charging higher copayments or coinsurance amounts for out-of-network emergency services. 


How House Calls May Help Frail Elderly
July 13, 2010

A new Medicare demonstration program sends doctors to see chronically ill patients at home – which supporters say will save money and bolster health.


Preventing Pregnancy: Should Patients Get Contraceptives From Health Plans At No Cost?
July 6, 2010

The new health law says insurers should provide certain preventive services to patients for free. Advocacy groups disagree about whether birth control should be on the list.


Part-Time Workers To Get Help On Health Insurance – But Not Now
June 29, 2010

The new health care law promises to make it easier for part-time workers to find and buy affordable coverage, starting in 2014. Until then, they don't have a lot of options.


Rising Costs Spur Increase In Health Savings Accounts
June 21, 2010

High deductible health plans and the associated health saving accounts that allow people to put aside money tax-free to cover medical expenses get mixed reviews from many consumers. But supporters of the plans worry that the health overhaul may hamper their use.


Pregnant Women And New Mothers Will Get Benefits, Services Under Health Care Law 
June 8, 2010

New health plans must cover tests, supplements for pregnant women, and home visits for young mothers.


Health Care Tax Credit Comes With Benefits, Strings For Small Businesses  
June 1, 2010

The health care tax credit for small businesses is designed to help employers pay for insuring workers. But the credit has several conditions, and some are worried that it won’t provide enough help.


College Student Health Plans Often Get Low Marks  
May 25, 2010

College health plans - used by students who aren't covered by family insurance plans or whose parents are uninsured - can offer only limited protection. The new health law may help.


New Health Law Throws Lifeline to 'Uninsurables'  
May 18, 2010

The new law offers relief for people who can’t get insurance because they are sick or have been sick. States can set up their own pools, or let the federal government do it.