healthcare

Through years of acrimony over the relative merits of Obamacare, one kind of health insurance has remained steady, widespread and relatively affordable: Employer-sponsored plans.

Job-based medical plans still cover more Americans than any other type, typically with greater benefits and lower out-of-pocket expense. Recent cost increases for this sort of coverage have been a tiny fraction of those for Obamacare plans for individuals.

They are just three little words — "health savings accounts" — but they are generating a lot of buzz as Republicans contemplate plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Expanding the use of these accounts, based on a long-held conservative view that consumers should be more responsible for their health care spending, is a part of almost every GOP replacement plan under consideration on Capitol Hill.

As promised, President Trump has moved to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It's a concern for those who might be left without health insurance — and especially for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which may have to pick up some of the slack.

Carrie Farmer, a health policy researcher at the Rand Corp., says 3 million vets who are enrolled in the VA usually get their health care elsewhere — from their employer, or maybe from Obamacare exchanges. If those options go away, she has no idea just how many of those 3 million veterans will move over to the VA.

More people have health insurance than ever before, but many still struggle to pay for care.

A recently released report says medical debt is the No. 1 reason consumers reported being contacted by a collection agency. If efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act result in more people losing their coverage, those numbers could rise.

A federal judge has ruled against the proposed acquisition of the health insurance company Humana by its larger rival, Aetna.

The decision is a victory for former President Obama's Justice Department, which sued Aetna last year to block the $34 billion merger, NPR's Yuki Noguchi reported.

The suit alleged that the merger would hurt competition in the health care market, leading to higher prices for consumers and fewer services for Medicare patients.

feverpitched, 123rf Stock Photo

More than 74,000 Kentuckians have signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov as of January 14. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the numbers Wednesday. 

Cold and flu season means plenty of parents are trying to figure out whether their kid is too sick to go to child care or school.

People in Columbia, S.C., had their pick of four health insurers last year when they shopped for policies during the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment.

This time they have just one: Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, which had the most Obamacare enrollees in Richland County in 2016 due to its low prices.

It's a change that's been repeated around the country after big health insurers such as Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare pulled out of dozens of Obamacare marketplaces that they judged unprofitable.

Lisa Gillespie, WFPL

Vickie Sheehan is one of the lucky ones.

She gained health insurance in 2013 through the Affordable Care Act, buying coverage on the health exchange. Since then, Sheehan has undergone treatment for anal cancer.

Natalia Merzlyakova, 123rf Stock Photo

The deadline to sign up for Healthcare.gov coverage has been extended to Monday, Dec. 19 at 11:59 p.m. The federal government made the announcement Thursday night, citing a high volume of people who have left requests to get enrolled.

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