During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the focus is mainly on what you can do to help prevent the disease. But for the one in eight women who will be diagnosed during their lifetime and may undergo treatment, it's important to learn about the different therapies in place to help counter the debilitating side effects. Vanessa Quiles was feeling the side effects of breast cancer treatments in her body and in her mind. She decided to try something new, which is actually an ancient form of pain relief, to improve her outlook on life."I think the best one, the one that I'm really enjoying right now is acupuncture," said Quiles. More Breast Cancer Awareness HeadlinesBreast Cancer Awareness Month: Events in South FloridaEnthusiastic pink wave against breast cancer hits MiamiAcupuncture is part of the integrative medicine program at Memorial Cancer Institute.Along with other healing methods, including exercise, nutrition and good sleep practices, it's paired with cutting-edge technology to assist cancer patients during and after treatment.
When it comes to Halloween, there are few things more enjoyable than choosing your costume. Whether you plan your costume months ahead of time or throw them together right before you go out with whatever supplies you have available, most of us are cu
There has been a lot of talk on Capitol Hill and in the news about taxpayer-funded “bailouts” for insurance companies under Obamacare. But what exactly are lawmakers talking about when they reference these “bailouts?”
The “bailouts” have come in the form of two programs—the risk corridor and reinsurance programs—written into the health care law and designed to mitigate risks for insurance companies.
But they haven’t worked out quite the way they were intended.
Learn more about the risk corridor and reinsurance programs, as well as the debate surrounding their futures, in the video above.
Health spending in the U.S. has grown at historically low levels, but new projections suggest that health spending growth is picking back up, averaging over 5% per year from 2014 – 2024. The health spending slowdown may be coming to a close, and was likely due to a combination of the economic downturn and slow recovery and higher patient cost-sharing, as well as structural changes to the health system.
Most clinicians support use of integrative services for hospitalized patients, and most referrals for these services are nurse-driven, a NIH-funded study conducted at a large tertiary care facility has shown.
Several issues pertaining to traditional medicine, especially ayurveda, were discussed at the meeting and the expression of interest to document case studies will go a long way in taking this form of medicine to the world.
Americans are looking forward to splurging on their favorite candy and costumes this Halloween season. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the survey’s 11-year history.
U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, with more than 171 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.
“After a long summer, families are excited to welcome the fall season celebrating Halloween,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are preparing for the day by offering a wide variety of options in costumes, decorations and candy, while being aggressive with their promotions to capture the most out of this shopping event.”
Dr. Daleela Dodge is fascinated by the resilience of her patients. The breast surgeon at Penn State Breast Center has repeatedly seen how social networks, diet, exercise, a strong support system, mindfulness and therapy through music, art and writing can be an important part of recovery and remission from breast cancer.She encourages her patients to integrate holistic activities such as yoga, meditation and journaling with more traditional evidence-based treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.This practice, known as integrative medicine, has become an important way to keep traditional treatments from leaving patients with psychological and physical impairments. With a focus more on health and wellness rather than solely on treating disease, it can be helpful in restoring quality of life.“Our bodies are a two-way street,” Dodge said. “They have an influence as much as the treatments we give them do.”Although the medical community has begun to acknowledge that patients can benefit from things outside of traditional therapy, Dodge said the offerings are not robust.“We aren’t judged based on patient survival,” she said. “We are paid for episodic, acute care.”Having a heart attack? Doctors know the exact protocol to follow to help you survive it.“What we’re not so good at is figuring out how to get you back on your feet once you have been debilitated,” she said. “We’re working against a lot of issues of how we are reimbursed for care.”Integrative medicine gives patients more say in their health, allowing them to participate more actively in relieving symptoms, easing side effects of treatment and reducing stress.
LinkedIn has taken its endorsements feature and given it a touch-up so that it actually means something on a person’s profile. With more than 10 billion endorsements since its launch in 2012, the professional social networking company is now using machine learning to customize each person’s experience so that the most impactful endorsements are surfaced when you view a profile.
For the past 15 years, Warren Jones has had the same health insurance plan with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.
But over the years, Jones, of Kansas City, Missouri, has watched the coverage offered in his policy “erode” over time.
First, the company got rid of the dental and vision coverage he had.
Then, Jones’ deductible increased—to $2,500—for his plan alone.
But perhaps the most significant change for Jones, a veterinarian, has been the rising cost of his monthly premiums.
In 2014, the year Obamacare took effect, Jones paid $318 in monthly premiums. In 2015, the price went up to $394 per month, then to $491 for 2016.
For 2017, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas estimates that Jones will pay $716 each month for his premiums—a 45.8 percent increase—according to a letter the insurer sent him.
“You can’t keep doing this because people’s wages don’t increase by that amount,” Jones told The Daily Signal. “Nobody’s wages are increasing, so it’s taking a bigger chunk of the budget.”
“That’s the scariest part,” he continued. “It takes a bigger chunk of the budget, and there’s no relief in sight.”
Like millions of other Americans nationwide, Jones, 55, doesn’t buy his insurance on Obamacare’s state and federal exchanges.
And even if he did, he wouldn’t qualify for the subsidies that lessened the cost of health insurance for 7.3 million Americans who received the tax credits last year, according to regulatory filings.
Instead, the veterinarian falls into an overlooked subset of consumers who pay full price for their health insurance in a time of skyrocketing premiums and deductibles.
They don’t qualify for the tax credits offered under the health care law, and they don’t receive their coverage from employers, since many are self-employed.
“I have seen so many people, self-employed people, many started their own little business and make whatever they do, they have a small business, and they buy their individual policy or buy for their family, and what are their options?” said Beverly Gossage, a broker who has worked in the Kansas City area for 14 years.
“Do they no longer be self-employed? Maneuver taxes to make less than the income threshold to get subsidies?” Gossage continued. “They don’t want to do that, but they’re being pushed to do that. I get this question every day—‘What am I supposed to do?’”
Gossage ran as a Republican for Kansas insurance commissioner in 2014.
Over the past few months, insurers have been submitting rates to state regulators for the 2017 benefit year.
In most states, companies are requesting double-digit rate hikes for those selecting plans sold in the individual market both on and off the Obamacare exchanges.
Experts say insurers are playing catch-up after setting rates too low in the early years of the health care law and enrolling a sicker—and costlier—population than anticipated.
“A lot of insurers didn’t understand that the market was going to be skewed in terms of income and health status as severely as it was,” Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow in health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Generally, the pool was much worse than anybody expected because of things the administration did that made it worse.”
In response to questions about the growing cost of health insurance for consumers who buy plans sold in the individual market, the Obama administration has said that many Americans are shielded from premium hikes since they buy coverage on the exchanges and receive a subsidy from the government.
Many of the exchange enrollees who qualify for a subsidy may end up paying as little as $75 per month in premiums, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said earlier this month.
But that’s not the case for people like Jones and the 10 million others paying full price for their coverage.
“The traditional individual market, which consisted largely of middle-class people who are self-employed, those people are hooked onto this,” Haislmaier said. “It’s kind of a situation where you have an anchor that’s too big, and it’s pulling the boat under.”
State insurance regulators across the country have approved health care premium increases higher than those requested by insurers, despite a national effort to keep rates for policies sold on Affordable Care Actexchanges from skyrocketing, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
In eight states, regulators approved premiums that were a percentage point or more higher than carriers wanted, said Charles Gaba, a health data expert at ACASignups.net who analyzed the rates for USA TODAY. As of Tuesday, those states are Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Utah.
Pennsylvania regulators approved individual plan rate increases Monday of 33%, which is eight points higher than requested. Two insurers — Keystone Health Plan and Geisinger Quality Option — will also no longer offer plans on the ACA exchange for the state.
"These rate increases make it clear that Washington needs to move swiftly to address consumer needs under the Affordable Care Act," Pennsylvania insurance commissioner Teresa Miller said in a statement.
But Gaba doesn't think it's as bad as it appears.
Charles Gaba, founder of ACASignups.net, which covers Affordable Care Act data [Via MerlinFTP Drop] (Photo: handout)
“To consumers, this seems terrible like, ‘Oh, they’re price gouging us,’ ” Gaba said. “But part of regulators’ jobs is to keep insurance companies solvent so they can continue to give people insurance.”
Gaba's analysis of rates for the individual insurance market includes some of his own projections based on available data It also weights the averages of different insurers' rate increases, based on their relative market share. The averages also assume that all of those now insured renew their existing policies and doesn't include new policies since there’s no earlier rates with which to compare those.
This market now covers about 18 million people who don't get their insurance through work, Medicare, Medicaid or the Department of Veterans Affairs. About half of these people get some subsidies to pay for insurance.
The Kaiser Family Foundation said Tuesday that more than 5 million people who are uninsured are eligible for tax credits to help pay their premiums.
This year may be the last for dramatic premium increases as insurers now understand their new markets better, say some supporters of the law, including the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
In fact, this year many insurance carriers have requested premium rate increases that are closer to what regulators think are appropriate, says Gaba.
“Ideally you want what’s requested to be what’s necessary,” he added. “And that was part of what happened.”
Insurer withdrawals from some markets and rate hikes of more than 50% in some areas prompted fears that some insurance marketplaces were at risk of collapsing.
Carriers that have raised premiums significantly include Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Mexico, which raised premiums by 83%, and Crystal Run Health Insurance in New York which raised premiums by about 80%.
But there are some insurers with premiums that had big drops, including Medical Health Insurance of Ohio, which cut them by about 17%.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid acting Administrator Andy Slavitt speaks at a news conference at the Treasury Department in Washington, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, on the annual Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees report. (Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP)
“The business was underpriced in many markets in the first couple years,” says Andy Slavitt, CMS' acting administrator. “In retrospect, life would have been a lot better and easier if things had started 10% higher, the rate increases had been higher and it had been just a smooth steady climb.”
Insurance regulators are also trying to keep insurance affordable by petitioning lawmakers to revamp Obamacare. That’s what Al Redmer Jr., Maryland's insurance commissioner, was fighting for when he testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in mid-September. The premium approval process is more transparent than ever, Redmer said in his testimony, but health care still isn’t getting more affordable.
Part of the problem is how uncertain the health care market is for carriers, Redmer said. Carriers bring proposed rates to state regulators in May, but the numbers they produce have to cover the rest of the year. That means insurers have to scramble to get numbers that will project what their expenses will be for the next year.
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