Forget Obamacare: One In Four Americans Say They’ll Pay The Fine

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The law of the land now goes as follows: either have healthcare insurance or pay a fine. Yet more than one in four Americans say they would rather pony up the penalty. A new Gallup poll reveals that 28% of those surveyed have no intention of signing up for health insurance, as required by the Affordable Care Act and will pay the fine instead.

The penalty in 2014 for remaining uninsured is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child or 1% of taxable income (up to $285 for a family), whichever is greater.

Fully 17% of U.S. adults currently do not have health insurance, according to Gallup. With the self-proclaimed holdouts who say they will refuse coverage, at least 5% of all U.S. adults will remain uninsured.

According to the nearly 4,000 interviews conducted with uninsured Americans since September, more than one quarter (26%) under the age of 30 say they are more likely to pay the fine, compared with 30% of those aged 30 and older.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/forget-obamacare-one-four-americans-say-theyll-pay-the-fine/1

Pennsylvania Insurance Chief Doubts Obama’s Health Care Plan

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state Insurance commissioner cast doubt Friday on a plan by President Obama to stop insurers from dumping more than 250,000 Pennsylvanians whose medical coverage did not meet the minimum requirements of the new health care law.

Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine questioned whether Obama had the legal authority to allow insurers to reinstate or extend those policies. He also said the state has limited power to force insurers to comply with a scheme that he said “heightens confusion” surrounding the law’s implementation.

“I think there are very fair questions being raised about the legal authority for the president to say we’re going to ignore what’s in the” Affordable Care Act, Consedine told the Tribune-Review.

The president acted to quell a firestorm over the chaotic rollout of the law known as Obamacare in proposing the administrative fix for consumers whose policies were being canceled. Many accused him of reneging on a pledge that no one would lose medical coverage if they liked it.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5078520-74/insurers-health-state#ixzz2kpOO1rvh
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Reading Hospital Joins Alliance With Six Others

The Reading Health System announced Wednesday that it has joined an alliance with six other health systems in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a move officials say could lead to better and more affordable care for patients, improve hospital operations and reduce costs.

The alliance, AllSpire Health Partners, is not a merger, officials stressed.  Reading Hospital will remain locally governed and managed.

The seven health systems include a total of 25 hospitals with a service area of more than 6 million people.  The systems have a combined revenue of $10.5 billion, and AllSpire touts the partnership as the largest health care consortium in the country.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=512676

Savings Slow In Reading Purge Of Insurance Rolls

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city had budgeted savings of nearly $900,000 this year by purging its health insurance rolls of ineligible employees, dependents and police retirees.

It also budgeted a contingency fund of $980,000, if the purges didn’t go as planned.

They haven’t.

Managing Director Carole B. Snyder said the city has seen little savings so far because the police retiree purge got bogged down in arbitration and in complex evaluations that may not be complete by year’s end.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=505866

LVH-Cedar Crest Undergoing $21 Million Expansion

English: Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA...

English: Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lehigh Valley’s biggest hospital is getting bigger.

Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest has begun a $21.4 million expansion of its Kasych Family Pavilion in response to patient demand.  When it is done, the hospital will have added 24 patient rooms and three floors to the south tower.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-lehigh-valley-hospital-expansion-20130821,0,6465139.story#ixzz2cetZgxiB
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Wegmans To Change Health Benefits For Part-Timers Under Obamacare

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(MCT) — Et tu, Wegmans?

The Rochester-based grocer that has been continually lauded for providing health insurance to its part-time workers will no longer offer that benefit.

Until recently, the company voluntarily offered health insurance to employees who worked 20 hours per week or more.  Companies are required by law to offer health insurance only to full-time employees who work 30 hours or more per week, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

Several Wegmans employees told The Buffalo News that part-time health benefits had been cut and said the company said the decision was related to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-wegmans-cuts-health-benefits-part-timers-obamac-20130712,0,2099072.story#ixzz2YqbvNng8
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Reading Health System Lays Off 210 Employees

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The parent company of Reading Hospital, Reading Health System, laid off 210 employees today as part of a cost-cutting plan that also will eliminate an additional 181 jobs through attrition and change the employee retirement package from a defined-benefit pension to a 401(k) plan.

Hospital officials said the cuts are in response to changes in the national health care system, including cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals.

Also, fewer patients are getting elective surgeries because the patients themselves have been laid off or experienced reductions in their medical benefits, said Therese Sucher, chief operating officer.

The cuts are in part due to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which required hospitals to implement electronic health records so all patients and physicians have immediate access to patient information.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=470221

Exchange To Offer Health Insurance To Nearly 81,000 In Northeast Pennsylvania

Exchange to offer health insurance.

Assistance available to those in need.

Nearly 81,000 Northeast Pennsylvanians will be eligible to buy subsidized health insurance next year through an exchange, according to a new report released Wednesday.

The report, “Help Is at Hand: New Health Insurance Tax Credits in Pennsylvania,” by Families USA, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit that supports President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, details who will be eligible to obtain health insurance through the Pennsylvania exchange.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/health-science/exchange-to-offer-health-insurance-to-nearly-81-000-in-northeast-pennsylvanian-1.1464563

Health Care Law Includes $63 Annual Fee Per Person

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It’s a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say.  Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.

Employee benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a “sleeper issue” with significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers.

“Especially at a time when we are facing economic uncertainty, (companies will) be hit with a multimillion dollar assessment without getting anything back for it,” said Sheaks, a principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox subsidiary.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=434478

Economy Remains Issue That Will Occupy U.S. Lawmakers, Several Observers Note

A nasty election season that ends with close results is not going to clear the muddy waters of American political discourse.

Many people likely thought that on Wednesday as the nation once again focused on serious yet divisive problems like the national debt and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The election gave President Barack Obama a second term but left control of the Senate and the House divided between Democrats and Republicans.

“The public re-upped on divided government,” said Glenn W. Richardson Jr., an associate professor of political science at Kutztown University.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=426030

Health Insurance For Police Retirees Next Problem For Reading

As the city struggles to meet its soaring pension costs, especially for police, it discovered a new problem that’s costing what some say is an illegal $900,000 a year.

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police officers retiring through the much-maligned DROP program continue to get their health insurance premiums paid by the city.

The contract requires that any retiree who gets a job with another department must use that agency’s health insurance plan and notify the city to drop them.  Many retired city police have gone to other municipalities or the county.

But many don’t, city officials say, because they’re more valuable to another department if it doesn’t have to pay that benefit.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=418707