Sample 834 data. It's not supposed to be diagonal, don't worry.

What Is An 834 Transaction, And Why Should I Care?

The good news is that, the health insurance marketplace for states that haven’t set up their own exchanges, is now up and functional. Well, the front end is working. Now that eligible people in need of insurance are able to log in and sign up, the next step is for the site to send their information over to the health insurance companies. That’s where things might go very wrong. [More]

Check Your Insurance Before Getting Flu Shot At Walgreens & Other Stores

Check Your Insurance Before Getting Flu Shot At Walgreens & Other Stores

Retail pharmacies are now responsible for around 1-in-5 flu shots given to Americans each year, and many of these stores advertise low-cost or no-cost shots for customers on certain health plans. But a survey of Walgreens locations in New York City and Los Angeles finds that nearly half of the flu shot recipients at these stores are getting bad information about whether their insurance policies cover the cost of the shot. [More]

California Pulls Plug On 10 Bogus Healthcare Sites

California Pulls Plug On 10 Bogus Healthcare Sites

Confusion over the Affordable Care Act is already causing more than a few headaches these days. The last thing consumers need is scam websites set up to look like official state exchanges with the purpose of tricking people into turning over their personal information. Today, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that her office has shut down 10 sites passing themselves off as the state’s official insurance marketplace. [More]

(frankieleon) Thinks I’m Ineligible For Insurance Because I’m In Jail?

The good news is that lots and lots of people were interested in signing up and shopping for health insurance once exchanges opened on October 1st. The bad news was that the site and its identity-verification services weren’t up to the task. So the Department of Health and Human Services apologized in a blog post…a post that accepts user comments. These comments make interesting reading. [More]

(cPhillip Pessar)

Walgreens Moving Eligible Employees To Health Insurance Exchange

Walgreen Co., the parent company of Walgreen’s, is joining the “Let’s change our health care” party, right after Trader Joe’s announced it’d be giving employees money to purchase their own health insurance on the exchange system. The company announced today that it will send eligible employees shopping for coverage instead of using a company-backed system. [More]

Trader Joe’s Gets Rid Of Health Insurance Benefit For Part-Timers

Trader Joe’s Gets Rid Of Health Insurance Benefit For Part-Timers

At first glance, this story has a scary headline: Trader Joe’s is yanking health insurance away from many employees because of Obamacare. That is what’s happening, but leaves out that yes, workers are losing their coverage…because the Affordable Care Act means that adults whose jobs don’t provide health insurance but who are well above the poverty line will have access to reasonably priced insurance through state exchanges. [More]

(Great Beyond)

Shouldn’t Hip & Knee Replacements Come With Warranties?

Most new products, from cheapo wristwatches to new cars, often come with manufacturers’ warranties. But that isn’t the case for most hip and knee implants, meaning that a growing number of Americans are having expensive devices put in their bodies without any written assurance from the manufacturers. [More]


Health Insurance Marketplace Goes Live Oct. 1, But Most Don’t Have A Clue What That Means

Unless you’ve had wool stuffed in your ears you might’ve heard the words “Affordable Care Act” bandied about for a while now. And starting Oct. 1, open-enrollment season officially begins for people to purchase insurance coverage. But what does that even mean? If you don’t know, you’re not alone: According to a new poll, 51% of Americans say they don’t understand how that will affect them or their families. [More]


Walmart To Offer Employees’ Domestic Partners Health Insurance In 2014

This week, Walmart employees will receive a postcard in the mail with news that could be irrelevant or that could be life-changing. At the beginning of next year, the company will join most of the rest of the Fortune 500 in offering health, vision, and dental insurance benefits to the domestic partners of employees who are eligible. [More]

Some Employers Really Want To Ditch Your Spouse

Some Employers Really Want To Ditch Your Spouse

It’s nothing personal, but some employers really want to ditch their workers’ spouses. They’re not making people get divorced, but are dropping spouses who have access to health insurance benefits through their own employers. It was big news yesterday when UPS announced that they plan to do exactly that, a change that affects about 15,000 people. [More]

Express Scripts Decides Cancer Patient’s Drug Isn’t Approved Yet, Shrugs

Express Scripts Decides Cancer Patient’s Drug Isn’t Approved Yet, Shrugs

Health insurance is supposed to make your life less stressful, not more. It’s supposed to help you treat illnesses, not keep you away from legitimate treatments. Yet mail-order pharmacy kept a life-extending treatment away from a terminal cancer patient, causing her extra stress and costing her time spent on the phone and not receiving treatment. [More]


How Will People Without Bank Accounts Pay For Health Insurance?

Next January, everyone in America will have to have health coverage or run afoul of federal health care law. But what about those 51 million adults who heavily rely on check-cashing stores and money lenders, and who may not have a checking or savings account? If you don’t have a relationship with a bank, it’s going to be tricky to pay for that required coverage. [More]

My Health Insurer’s Idea Of ‘Healthy’ Food Is Mayonnaise And Ice Cream

My Health Insurer’s Idea Of ‘Healthy’ Food Is Mayonnaise And Ice Cream

Should our health insurers try to nudge us toward the healthiest habits possible, like eating fresh, healthy food and exercising regularly? Or should they just give up, accept Americans’ crappy habits and hope that we do less healthy versions of unhealthy things, like eating giant plates of whole-wheat pasta? Reader Scott wonders whether that’s what his health insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, is up to with a package of coupons that they sent recently. [More]

White House Cuts Health Care Application From 21 Pages To 3

White House Cuts Health Care Application From 21 Pages To 3

Last month, the Obama administration took a lot of heat when it unveiled a draft application for health insurance that ran some 21 pages in length and included all manner of invasive questions about the applicant’s medical history. Today, the final product was unveiled, and it’s significantly skinnier this time around. [More]


Last Year 80 Million Working-Age Adults Skipped Medical Care Because They Couldn’t Afford It

Can’t afford to seek medical care, even if your’e insured? You’re not alone — a new report says around 80 million people, or 43% of  working-age adults skipped out on getting the treatment they needed last year because they simply couldn’t pay for it. Included in those ranks are the insured as well as the uninsured, a sign that health costs are rising for everyone. [More]


CVS Employees Must Provide Personal Medical Info Or Pay Higher Insurance Premiums

CVS is launching a “voluntary” new program for employees that allows them to avoid paying more for health insurance, if they just share personal medical information — weight, body fat, glucose levels, etc. — with the company. [More]

(The Joy of the Mundane)

Hospital Sends Patient To Collections For Bill His Insurance Company Had Already Paid

We understand that hospitals often get patients using the emergency room as a “free” clinic, and that it may be less of a headache to turn unpaid bills over to a collections agency than it is to chase down debtors on your own. But hospitals shouldn’t be tossing patients to the collections lions if the patients’ insurance provider has already paid the bill. [More]


Can The Auto Insurance Model Work For Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance?

With most people with employer-sponsored insurance plans, an employee who never visits the doctor pays the same premium as her co-worker who is a regular in his doctor’s waiting room. But what about plans that either reward an employee’s healthy behavior or penalize those with risky lifestyles? [More]