Alabama health insurance

APR

Please find enclosed Alabama Public Radio’s entry for best radio documentary, titled “Help Wanted: Alabama’s Rural Health Care Crisis.” The three member Alabama Public Radio news team spent the year, with no budget, investigating why the system here is so badly broken and why solutions aren’t being pursued.

On September 27, 2017, the Washington Post published an article about how only one half of rural hospitals in the U.S. can deliver a baby.

In rural Alabama, it’s barely a third.

APR

Advocates working to fix problems with rural health care say Alabama is ground zero nationally. Studies say Alabama has the highest infant mortality rate in the U.S. The state also leads the nation for diabetes. Alabama is also home to Gadsden which had the lowest life expectancy in the nation in 2016. Despite all this, rural hospitals in the state receive among the lowest reimbursements nationally from Medicare. That’s blamed for eighty percent of Alabama’s hospitals that are operating in the red.

If any Alabamians missed out on signing up for coverage associated with the Affordable Care Act, there is still time to do so. APR’s MacKenzie Bates explains.

HealthCare.gov says it will be extending Tuesday’s deadline to sign up for health insurance to tonight. The reason is high demand among health care consumers who wanted coverage starting January 1. The new cutoff point is tonight at midnight PST.

Officials say the surge in consumer demand caused some applicants to wait at the call center or while trying to log into HealthCare.gov.

easternct.edu

Alabamians looking for health insurance will likely have more choices in the second year of the insurance marketplace.

A spokesman for the state insurance department said Monday that United Healthcare has filed plans with state and federal regulators to offer coverage in all 67 counties during the second year of the program. United Healthcare did not offer individual plans in any county during the first year.

Gov. Robert Bentley has announced no decision yet on whether he wants Alabama to create a health insurance exchange or leave it to the federal government.

Friday is the deadline for states to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about what they intend to do. Exchanges are mandated by the Affordable Care Act for each state, but they can be state run or federally run.