healthcare

Taxpayers Confused By Late Health Law Forms

Feb 17, 2016

As the 2015 tax filing season gets underway, tax preparers said a delay in health law tax forms is tripping up some consumers, while others want details about exemptions from increasingly stiff penalties for not having insurance.

Under the law, most people must have health insurance or pay a fine. In 2015, the penalty was $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975, or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

A growing number of primary care doctors, spurred by frustration with insurance requirements, are bringing "health care for billionaires" to the masses, including people on Medicare and Medicaid, and state employees.

Insurance policies that pay a lump sum if workers get cancer or another serious illness are being offered in growing numbers by employers. Companies say they want to help protect their workers against the financial pain of increasingly high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. But it's important to understand the limitations of these plans before buying.

Critical illness plans have been around for decades, but they've become more common lately as employers have shifted more health care costs onto their workers' shoulders.

When CVS Health customers complained to the company about privacy violations, some of the calls and letters made their way to Joseph Fenity. One patient's medication was delivered to his neighbor, revealing he had cancer. Another was upset because a pharmacist had yelled personal information across the counter.

Is your doctor your go-to for nutrition advice? Neither is mine. And why would I expect that?

Medicare recipients who have arthritis, cancer or other complex conditions may find they have to pay thousands of dollars a year for their medications, even if their insurance plan covers most prescriptions.

Kentucky Gov.-elect Matt Bevin, who takes office Dec. 8, plans to dismantle the state's successful health insurance exchange and shift consumers to the federal one. It's a campaign promise that has sparked controversy in the state.

Supporters of Kentucky's exchange, called Kynect, have asked Bevin to reconsider. They say the exchange created under Obamacare and an expansion of Medicaid have improved public health by dramatically increasing the number of Kentuckians with health coverage.

Consumers seeking health policies with the most freedom in choosing doctors and hospitals are finding far fewer of those plans on the insurance marketplaces. And the premiums are rising faster than for other types of coverage.

The open enrollment window for health insurance is open. As of Sunday, people could start shopping for coverage through the state and federal marketplaces. Naturally, when the options are on the table (or screen), questions pop up about how the buying process works and how to choose the best plan. Here are some recent questions and answers.

I like the low premiums of marketplace plans with high deductibles, but even though I'm pretty healthy, I'm worried about having to pay for everything until I meet that deductible. Is there any way around that?

A decades-long decline in the death rate of middle-aged white Americans has reversed in recent years, according to a surprising new analysis released Monday.

The cause of the reversal remains unclear. Researchers speculate it might be the result of the bad economy fueling a rise in suicides, plus overdoses from prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin, and alcohol abuse.

Pages