healthcare

Rebecca Schimmel | Ohio Valley ReSource

Miners in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia who helped keep the country’s lights on are worried that their retirement benefits could go dark as a result of a wave of bankruptcies in the coal industry. They hope Congress will approve a bill called the Miner’s Protection Act to shore up the pensions and health benefits promised to union miners. 

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For Kentucky workers who have health insurance through their employers, the number enrolled in high-deductible plans has risen sharply over the last eight years. 

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If Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to change the state’s Medicaid system is approved, about 86,000 fewer people will be enrolled in the program by July 2021, according to his administration. That will save the state money, as he’s said, but it’s also raising concerns about lost coverage. 

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The Bevin administration says it has met the June 1 deadline of demonstrating that it’s made adequate progress in Kentucky’s transition from the state health insurance exchange Kynect, to the federal exchange, healthcare.gov.

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Home health is one of the many areas involved in physical therapy. To qualify, one must be referred to by a physician, an MD, DO (Doctor of Osteopathic) or DPM (Doctors of Podiatric Medicine). Populations tend to include geriatrics, pediatrics and sometimes adults who happen to be in a car accident or recovering from a major surgery. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross speaks with physical therapist Kamran Nabavi of Baptist Health Home Care about navigating help through physical therapy. 

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Trigg County employees will be paying a little more for their health insurance next fiscal year. Insurance plans through Humana are increasing up to $50 a month for employees. 

When the health insurance premiums got to the point that they were higher than her mortgage, Renee Powell started to become cynical.

"There was something in me that just kind of switched," said the mother of two from Bartlesville, Okla. "I was OK with paying $750, but when it became about $100 more than my housing costs, it upset me."

Powell is an epidemiologist and used to work for the state in Oklahoma City. She had affordable insurance through that job.

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Many Kentucky adults still have a hard time affording health care, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

Social service providers in Kentucky are dealing with the rollout of the new Benefind system for public benefits. Those benefits include Medicaid and food stamps.

Across the state, there have been reports of long waits on the phone to update or change benefits with the Department for Community Based Services.

Melissa Grimes is Community Action’s program manager for Kynect. That’s the state’s health exchange that Governor Matt Bevin has promised to dismantle and replace with the federal exchange through Benefind.

Grimes says some of Community Action’s facilitators called Kynectors have had long telephone wait times.

“Some of the holds have been quite extensive for some of my Kynectors. I’ve heard up to three hours,” said Grimes. “But I think most are starting to get through now within an hour if not shorter.”

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A former state employee says he was fired soon after telling superiors that he feared possible violent reaction over problems with a new public benefits system.

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