health insurance

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The number of Virginians applying to enroll in Medicaid was about double during the last three months of 2016 than what state officials expected.

The state's Medicaid office said in a recent report filed to lawmakers that its processing unit had expected about 21,000 applications but instead received more than 41,000 for the publicly finance health care program for the poor. The increase was largely driven by a federal open enrollment period for health insurance.

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BEL AIR, Md. (AP) - Maryland's only congressional Republican is telling constituents that he supports efforts underway in Congress to reform the health care system.

Rep. Andy Harris, a physician who represents Maryland's Eastern Shore and parts of the greater Baltimore region, met Saturday with small groups of constituents during "office hours" in Bel Air.

Harris has not yet held a formal town hall meeting constituents since President Donald Trump took office, though on Friday he announced one scheduled for March 31.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates will be pushing legislation again this session to promote direct primary care agreements, in which patients pay a fee for unlimited primary care.

Del. Steven Landes outlined Republicans' health care priorities in a speech on the House floor Thursday.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed primary care legislation last year that supporters said was needed to provide legal clarity for them and their customers. It clarified that direct primary care agreements are not insurance and cannot be regulated as such.

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With the promise by a new congress and President-elect Donald Trump to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act some fear many will be left without health insurance in Maryland. Maryland News Connection Veronica Carter prepared this report.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland regulators say Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. won't be issuing or renewing individual health benefit policies.

The Maryland Insurance Administration announced Thursday individual plans will not be available on the Maryland Health Connection for the 2017 plan year.

Commissioner Al Redmer says the administration worked for months on a solution, but ran out of time to meet Jan. 1 effective dates. Evergreen is working to move from a non-profit to a for-profit company.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - An analysis for The Associated Press shows Maryland consumers next year will have more choices than consumers in many other states in health insurance markets created by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The analysis by Avalere Health finds Maryland among nine states that will have three or more participating insurers in its counties.

From 2014 to 2016, all of Maryland's counties and the city of Baltimore had three or more participating insurers. That will continue into 2017.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delawareans are again facing steep price increases for health insurance next year under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart has approved an average rate increase of 32.5 percent in the individual market for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, which has the vast majority of the individual market share in Delaware. That follows an average premium increase of 22.4 percent for individual Highmark plans this year.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Health insurance companies participating in Delaware's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act are seeking average rate increases of about 24 percent or higher for next year.

State officials disclosed Thursday that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is asking for an average rate increase of 32.5 percent for individual plans. Aetna Inc. wants regulators to approve a 25 percent average rate increase, while Aetna Life is seeking an average increase of 23.9 percent.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Supporters of an emerging subscription-based medical care are hoping Gov. Terry McAuliffe doesn't veto legislation designed to clarify that the practice is legal and does not need to be regulated like insurance.

The governor has until Friday to either sign or veto the legislation. His spokesman, Brian Coy, has declined to say what McAuliffe's plans are.

Known as direct primary care, patients pay their doctors monthly fees for unlimited primary care.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Companies offering coverage on the health care exchange in Maryland are proposing to increase rates.

The Baltimore Sun reports that United Healthcare will no longer offer individual plans on the state's online exchange created under the Affordable Care Act. It will still offer plans in the small-business market. 

CareFirst Blue Cross BlueShield has asked regulators for a 12.4 percent increase in its HMO plan next year. It's seeking a 16 percent increase for its two other plans.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Federal officials say nearly 87,000 Virginians have chosen health plans in the insurance marketplace created by President Barack Obama's health care law since an open enrollment period began on Nov. 1.
    
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the 2016 enrollment figures Wednesday.
    
The enrollment period runs through Jan. 31. Individuals needing coverage starting on Jan. 1 must sign up by a Dec. 15 deadline.
    

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There’s a new trend in Delaware for physicians to charge a straight yearly membership fee to cover certain basic health care like physicals and between two and four office visits.

In essence for a cost of around $75 a month for adult patients skip the normal insurance co-pays and paperwork.

For children under 18 the cost is up to $360 a year.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Dr. Christina Bovelsky in Middletown has opened such a unique practice.

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In the first year of the Affordable Care Act Maryland has dramatically slashed the number of children not covered by health insurance.

Maryland News Connection reporter Andrea Sears prepared this report.

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Insurance premiums are going up in Delaware.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service have given the okay to double-digit rate hikes.

The Wilmington New Journal reports that the Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin-Stewart said that individual rates for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield plans would go up by just over of 22 percent and Aetna Life plans by 16 percent.

The paper reports that Highmark had asked previously for hikes of 25.4 percent and 33 percent.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The state of Maryland says 289,131 residents enrolled in health care in the second sign up period.

The state says 122,778 enrolled in private plans. Of those, 87,007 received an advanced premium tax credit. There were 35,771 enrolling in private plans without a subsidy.

There were 166,353 enrolled in Medicaid.

The state says 88 percent of applicants were determined eligible for financial assistance, either through Medicaid or subsidies for private plans. That's up from 80 percent a year ago.

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The latest Delaware revenue projections find that tax-collection estimates dropped more than $45 million.

That’s the word from the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday.

The governor’s $3.9 billion budget had been based on a higher projection.

The decline will now force the governor and lawmakers to trim state spending or hike revenue to balance the state budget.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Federal officials say nearly 300,000 Virginians have signed up for the health insurance marketplace under the program's second open enrollment.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says 298,981 people signed up ahead of the deadline Thursday for coverage starting Feb. 1.

For those who missed the deadline, an open enrollment period will extend until Feb. 15. If that deadline is missed, the earliest coverage for those seeking it would be in 2016.

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Maryland's public health secretary is calling the state's revamped health-insurance exchange a success as the second enrollment period hits a milestone.

Thursday was the deadline for obtaining coverage starting Jan. 1. The enrollment period began Nov. 15 and continues through Feb. 15.

As of Tuesday, 30 days into the process, the exchange had enrolled about 61,000 in private plans. That's nearly five times the number of private-plan enrollments recorded during the first 30 days of the program's troubled launch last year.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's health department says more than 7,300 health insurance enrollments have been completed since the second open enrollment period began.

The department reported that 7,309 enrollments have been completed by 4:45 p.m. Thursday. About 18,615 applications have begun.

The department says there have been 117,000 visitors to the website since enrollment began Saturday at a Glen Burnie sign up fair.

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The second round of open enrollment for the Maryland Health Connection is just around the corner.

And the Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program is gearing up to help Eastern Shore residents sign up.

All consumers shopping for health insurance on the exchange – even those who have a qualified health plan through the exchange – must re-enroll between November 15th and December 18th.

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CHESWOLD, Del. (AP) - New legislation being signed by Gov. Jack Markell will boost the coffers of Delaware's volunteer ambulance and emergency medical services companies.

One bill to be signed Wednesday establishes a new $10 fee on all motor vehicle violations, with the money going from driver's wallets to volunteer ambulance companies statewide.

Another bill increases the share of the gross premium tax on health insurance companies that is distributed to volunteer fire companies from 0.15 percent to 0.21 percent.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials says some 300 Delawareans remain at risk of losing insurance coverage under the federal health care reform law because they have yet to submit documentation verifying their eligibility.

Federal officials sent out notices last month to more than 300,000 people nationwide, including about 700 in Delaware, with inconsistencies in their citizenship or immigration data. Officials say about 55 percent of those Delaware cases have since been resolved.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - More federal dollars are headed to Virginia to help consumers navigate the thicket of the federal health insurance marketplace.

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced $1.9 million in grants for Virginia. They are going to the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Advanced Patient Advocacy LLC, both located in the Richmond area.

The law center and Advanced Patient each operated navigation sites around the state last year during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delawareans could face higher insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act next year under new rate requests from insurers.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is seeking average premium increases of 5 percent for individuals who bought insurance through Delaware's exchange. Exact premium changes will depend on factors including which plan is selected. Highmark says its premium increase reflects an aging population, prevalence of chronic illnesses and higher costs for new medicines and procedures.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Republican lawmakers in several states including Delaware continue to push for tighter oversight of workers who help people apply for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act, even though there's no sign yet that enrollment assistants have misused consumers' personal information.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The foundation that owns the Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children in Delaware and various pediatric physician practices in the region is suing United Healthcare entities in three states for unpaid bills.

Lawyers for the Nemours Foundation filed lawsuits in federal court in Delaware on Wednesday against United Healthcare of Pennsylvania, United Healthcare of the Mid-Atlantic, and United Healthcare Community Plan of New Jersey.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials are set to provide an update on enrollment in the state's new health insurance exchange.

Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf planned to update the Delaware Health Care Commission on Thursday on the state's implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Officials also planned to provide an update on the marketing campaign aimed at encouraging people to enroll in the exchange before the March 31 deadline.

Officials last month said 1,145 people had enrolled in the exchange and paid their first premiums.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A final vote is near on a measure to help people who could not enroll in a private health plan on Maryland's health exchange website due to computer problems last year.

The Senate, which already approved a version of the bill, could take up final passage as soon as Wednesday on the bill that has some changes made by the House of Delegates.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has advanced a measure to provide insurance for people who were unable to enroll in the state's health exchange website due to computer problems.

The Senate voted 36-8 late Monday to adopt a favorable report on the measure. That sets the stage for a vote Tuesday to send the bill to the House.

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Governor Martin O’Malley says the administration will stay with its own troubled health insurance exchange in the run up to the March 31st deadline for open enrollment instead moving to the federal website.

Maryland state officials also say they will be reaching out to customers in an agreement with insurers to provide retroactive coverage for those who were not successful in signing up on the state exchange.

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