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Articles written by Tom Murphy

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 By Tom Murphy    Regional    July 28, 2019

Hurry up and wait: Docs say insurers increasingly interfere

After Kim Lauerman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, doctors wanted to give her a drug that helps prevent infections and fever during chemotherapy. Her insurer said no. Anthem Blue Cross told Lauerman the drug wasn't necessary. She eventually got...

 

Even a small amount of medical debt can trigger headaches

It doesn't take a huge unpaid medical bill to make a collection agency come calling ... and calling. Researchers found in a study of credit reports that more than 2 percent of adults had medical bills under $200 sent to a collection agency. Over half...

 

Rising air ambulance bills hit patients with added shock

A helicopter trip to a hospital may not be the only shock a patient faces after a bad accident. The next one could hit when the bill arrives. Rides in so-called air ambulances can lead to bills of more than $20,000 depending on a person's coverage,...

 

Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Josephine Rizo survived chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, but breast cancer treatment wrecked her finances. Money was already tight when doctors told the Phoenix resident she had an aggressive form of the disease. Then she took a pay cut after...

 

Study: Medical bankruptcies may not be as common as thought

Medical bills can push patients over the financial cliff, but a new study says this may not happen as often as previous research suggests. Hospitalizations cause only about 4 percent of personal bankruptcies among non-elderly U.S. adults, according...

 

Health insurer Cigna buying Express Scripts for $52 billion

Health insurer Cigna is buying the nation's biggest pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts, the latest in a string of proposed tie-ups as health care's bill payers attempt to get a grip on rising costs. The $52 billion deal announced Thursday...

 

Insurers get into care, but is it good for your health?

In the not-too-distant future, your health insurance, your prescription drugs and some of your treatment may come from the same company. Insurers are dropping billions of dollars on acquisitions and expansions in order to get more involved in...

 

Grocer Albertsons eyes Rite Aid deal in health care push

The owner of Safeway and other grocery brands is buying the drugstore chain Rite Aid as retailers continue to plunge deeper into health care and adjust to swiftly changing shopping habits. Albertsons Companies executives said Tuesday that their...

 

Amazon, Buffett and JPMorgan join forces on health care

Three of corporate America's heaviest hitters — Amazon, Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase — sent a shudder through the health industry Tuesday when they announced plans to jointly create a company to provide their employees with high-quality,...

 

Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel

Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel. The retail giant said Wednesday that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its...

 

What to look for as 'Obamacare' 2018 enrollment opens

A new deadline, rising prices and fewer options for help will greet health insurance shoppers as the Affordable Care Act's main enrollment window opens Wednesday. Also in store: Befuddlement. "Confusion seems to be one of the key words to describe...

 

Trump health coverage alternatives may pose risk to the sick

The White House is working on a plan that could bring more health insurance choices and cheaper options to people buying individual and small business coverage. But the bill for this might be paid by the sick. Senior administration officials have...

 

Buyer beware: Long-term care costs are surging

Long-term care costs are surging again and the most expensive option — a private nursing home room — may soon top $100,000 per year. Growing labor expenses and sicker patients helped push the median cost of care that includes adult day care and...

 

Health benefit offers from small businesses keep vanishing

Only half of America's smallest businesses now offer health coverage to their workers because many say steady cost hikes have made it too expensive to afford a benefit that nearly all large employers still provide. The Kaiser Family Foundation said...

 
 By TOM MURPHY    Regional    August 24, 2017

How to tell if the price is right on your next prescription

Filling a prescription is no longer the simple errand you run after a doctor visit. With drug prices rising and insurance coverage shrinking, it pays to ask questions and do a little research before handing over your insurance card at the pharmacy...

 
 By Tom Murphy    Regional    July 30, 2017

Obama's health care law still needs some patchwork

The health care law of the land has survived for now, but it needs help — and it needs it soon. Soaring prices and fewer choices may greet customers when they return to the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces this fall, in part because...

 
 By Tom Murphy    Regional    July 28, 2017

Higher prices, fewer options lurk after health bill collapse

The health care law of the land has survived for now, but it needs help — and it needs it soon. Soaring prices and fewer choices may greet customers when they return to the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces this fall, in part because...

 
 By Tom Murphy    Regional    June 22, 2017

Government health insurance markets holding up--barely

Enough insurers are planning to sell coverage on the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges next year to keep them working — if only barely — in most parts of the country. Competition in many markets has dwindled to one insurer — or none in...

 
 By Tom Murphy    Regional    June 14, 2017

Key insurer Centene plans to expand health exchange presence

Health insurer Centene announced plans Tuesday to expand into more Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges for next year, at a time when competitors are either pulling back from those markets or proposing steep price hikes to remain. The insurer...

 

Newly insured fret over gains made under US health care law

Dawn Erin went nearly 20 years without health insurance before the Affordable Care Act, bouncing between free clinics for frequent and painful bladder infections. The liver-destroying disease hepatitis C made her ineligible for coverage until...

 
 By Tom Murphy    Regional    May 26, 2017

Insurers continue to hike prices, abandon ACA markets

People shopping for insurance through the Affordable Care Act in yet more regions could face higher prices and fewer choices next year as insurance companies lay out their early plans for 2018. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is asking...

 
 By Tom Murphy    Regional    May 5, 2017

Pre-existing conditions and the health plan: Who's covered?

The Republican push to replace the Affordable Care Act was revived this week in Congress by a small change to their plan designed to combat concerns over coverage for those with pre-existing health problems. The change helped get the bill through...

 
 By Tom Murphy    Regional    May 5, 2017

AP FACT CHECK: Are pregnancy, rape pre-existing conditions?

Pregnancy, sexual assault and domestic violence could be considered "pre-existing conditions" that make it hard to keep insurance coverage under the Republican health care bill, according to a number of news articles and social media posts. The bill...

 

Appeals court upholds decision to block Anthem bid for Cigna

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court on Friday left in place a decision blocking Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem's bid to buy rival Cigna, saying that a bigger company is not better for consumers. The 2-1 decision upholds a federal...

 
 By Tom Murphy    Regional    April 14, 2017

How Trump insurance changes could affect coverage next year

A much tighter sign-up deadline and coverage delays will be waiting for some health insurance customers now that President Donald Trump's administration has finished a plan designed to stabilize shaky insurance markets. Shoppers will have a shorter t...

 

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