Obama admin approves building insurance markets
Obama administration has granted approval to four Republican-led states to build their own consumer-friendly insurance markets.
With open enrollment for millions of uninsured Americans just few months away-, Oct 1, 2013, the four GOP-led states joined 17 states plus Washington, D.C. that have secured an initial go-ahead to build and run the insurance exchanges.
The list also included California, which has about 7.5 million uninsured residents. The democratic-led California was an early supporter of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law and has been working seriously on its plan.
Rachel Klein, Executive Director of Enroll America, a non profit trying to educate the public about new benefits under the federal healthcare law said, “Most people don’t really know what those words mean, but that’s OK.” Mr. Klein also said, “ What they really need to know is that there’s going to be a new way to buy health insurance.”
The new marketplaces will take the confusion and anxiety out of acquiring private health insurance for individuals and families who acquire their coverage directly.
The exchanges are meant to have the feel of an online travel sitean Expedia or Orbitz. The exchanges will also offer some relief from sticker shock. Under the new law, about 8 in 10 customers in the new marketplaces will be eligible for income-based federal aid to help pay their premiums.
The small businesses will have separate access to their own exchanges. The approvals announced are provisions, stated administration officials and more work remains to be completed before they will issue final sign-offs. Jon Hanian, spokesman for Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.
The federal government will set up and run the new marketplaces in states that opt out of playing any role and the 19 republican-led states have taken that route.
The remaining states are either pursuing partnerships with Washington or still mulling their options. Under Obama’s law, the plans in the new marketplaces will have to cover a set of essential benefits that include hospitalization, doctor visits, prescriptions, prevention and care for pregnant women and young children.
The exchanges will also steer low-income people to state Medicaid programs.
The law gives the states the option to expand Medicaid to cover more of their low-income residents, with federal government picking up about 90 cents of every dollar in added costs. The coverage through exchange plans will commence on Jan 1, 2014.
Family doctors should give COVID vaccine, survey finds
A new survey has found that doctors believe patients would be more open to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if it was administered by a trusted doctor.
The research by Sermo, a social media network for clinicians, was carried out among 3,329 physicians from around the world. It found that nearly 70% said that if they could administer the vaccine to reluctant patients themselves, they believe they would feel more comfortable about getting vaccinated.
Additionally, nearly half of the people surveyed said that their ability to discuss the benefits of vaccination and answer patients' questions during appointments could help increase their willingness to get vaccinated.
The survey results are released as infection rates rise among people who have not received the vaccine. In the US Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called the latest surge "a pandemic of the unvaccinated".
Sermo’s COVID-19 Real Time Barometer also showed 65% of physicians believe that vaccinating children is essential for long-term control of the virus. Other findings include:
* 55% of physicians say their patients are more reluctant to vaccinate their children than themselves due to fear of adverse effects
* 60% believe a one-dose vial that administered at their office during appointments would be beneficial in continuing to administer vaccinations
* 81% believe that paediatricians and family doctors are in the best position to vaccinate children
Respondents also said resources and information should be created to educate their patient base and parents about the importance of getting vaccinated.
“Our survey reveals that physicians worldwide feel strongly that they can and perhaps, should, play a very important role in driving COVID vaccination uptake,” said Peter Kirk, Sermo's CEO.
“The trust they have built with their patients, combined with the ability to counsel, answer questions, ease concerns and provide assurances could help patients overcome their hesitancy to be vaccinated. Allowing physicians to vaccinate their own patients has the potential to increase vaccine rates.”