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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Lisa Stiffler.

November 20, 2014 at 3:30 PM

State strips Speedos, rap artists from new insurance ad campaign

Gone from this year’s health-insurance ad campaign are the faux rap artists, backyard raccoon attacks and moustachioed man suspended by his turquoise Speedo. The controversial insurance exchange ads that some deemed offensive are being replaced this year with a new campaign that still aims to be funny — but less sensational. “Last year…

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Comments | More in General News | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

November 18, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Lawmakers voice anger with insurance exchange’s technical troubles

State lawmakers on Tuesday voiced their continued frustration with the technical problems still afflicting the Washington Healthplanfinder insurance exchange. On Saturday, the first day of enrollment for the second round of insurance signups on the exchange, the site was live for only a couple of hours before a technical error was discovered and the exchange was taken…

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Comments | Topics: Richard Onizuka, Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder

November 17, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Insurance boss Kreidler on the future of health-care reform

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler grabbed national attention last year when he broke with President Obama’s efforts to mollify a public upset by canceled insurance plans. Of late, Kreidler has been openly critical of the state’s botched efforts to make repairs to the online insurance exchange. But Kreidler remains a champion of the effort to make universal…

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, Mike Kreidler, Office of the Insurance Commissioner

October 29, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Small businesses can enroll in Obamacare statewide

Small businesses throughout Washington — those with 50 or fewer employees — can now shop for and enroll in health insurance plans through the state’s insurance exchange.

The exchange got off to a slow start for businesses this year when only one insurance provider, Kaiser Health Plan of the Northwest, agreed to sell plans in the marketplace and only in Clark and Cowlitz counties. For coverage beginning January 2015, small employers statewide can shop the exchange for coverage from Moda Health, and Kaiser will continue selling in the two southern counties. A total of 23 different plans are available from the two insurance companies.

Some businesses using the exchange, called Washington Healthplanfinder Business, will be eligible for federal tax breaks, depending on the number of employees and their salaries.

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, Healthplanfinder Business

October 24, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Seattle facility aims to jump start local health-care industry

Northwest business leaders have a plan to jump start Seattle’s health-care industry by creating a new facility that will “foster innovation and transformation” in the field. The Cambia Grove is envisioned as a place for folks who want to develop and test health-care innovations to come together and collaborate. Regence BlueShield and health-care providers…

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Comments | Topics: health insurance

October 22, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Aetna deal promises more affordable, better health care in Puget Sound

Insurance giant Aetna on Thursday announced that it had struck a deal with four well-known networks of doctors, clinics and hospitals to provide what it says will be more affordable, higher quality care in the Puget Sound area.

Participants include The Polyclinic, Providence-Swedish Health Alliance, Rainier Health Network and Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed). Seattle Children’s Hospital is included in all four networks.

The arrangements follow an increasingly popular health care model known as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. In ACOs or ACO-like systems a network of providers contracts with an insurance company, government program such as Medicare or Medicaid, or directly with an employer.

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Comments | Topics: Accountable Care Organizations, health insurance, Medicare

October 20, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Court, Kreidler bolster mental-health coverage

Washington residents will be able to recover some of their medical costs for certain mental health services. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is sending letters instructing insurance companies to identify and inform policyholders whose insurance claims were denied for mental-health care that they have a right to have those claims re-evaluated, provided that they were…

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Comments | Topics: health insurance, Mike Kreidler

October 13, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Medicare Advantage, drug plan enrollments start Oct. 15

Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug coverage (Part D) begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. “Many Medicare plans are changing again this year,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler in a press release. “Open enrollment is the time to shop for the best plan that meets your needs.” The state offers free assistance…

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Comments | Topics: health insurance, Medicare, Office of the Insurance Commissioner

October 13, 2014 at 4:06 PM

State offers auto-renewal of health insurance

Most Washington residents who bought individual health insurance through the state’s marketplace will be able to automatically renew their coverage for 2105 without taking any additional steps. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which runs the marketplace, is sending out renewal letters to its customers beginning this week. Insurance companies are sending their own letters to inform…

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, Healthplanfinder

October 2, 2014 at 12:13 PM

State senators aim to boost birth-control access after Hobby Lobby ruling

A group of Democratic state senators said Thursday that it is crafting legislation to protect Washington women’s access to insurer-provided birth control. The group also criticized Republican leaders — slightly more than a month before the November elections — for failing to support women’s reproductive rights. The senators are “approaching this as an issue of discrimination against women,” said Sen….

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, birth control, health insurance

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