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Gov. Greg Abbott has asked lawmakers to take another stab at prohibiting abortion coverage in private health insurance plans in Texas.

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For patients visiting emergency rooms in Texas, surprise medical bills are common. In 2009, the Texas Legislature developed a mediation system for these hefty bills, but it was limited.

 

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a new law aimed at improving the system and expanding consumer protection.

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Nine in 10 Texans think it's harder to talk about a mental health condition than a physical health issue. The one place where it’s easier to talk about mental rather than physical health seems to be in the Texas Legislature, where a handful of bills are speeding through the House with near unanimous support. Among them is a bill to help enforce coverage of mental health benefits.

 

Texas House Approves Bill Focused On Mental Health Insurance Benefits

Apr 4, 2017
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Texas House members endorsed a bill Tuesday that would prevent health insurance companies from offering mental health benefits differently from medical benefits and offer more help for consumers who believe their insurance is wrongly denying them coverage.

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This week, President-elect Trump called for a quick repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The majority of Texans get healthcare through their employers, but over the past few years the number of people in Texas who’ve signed up through the Affordable Care Act has grown. Changes in the White House and Congress will affect both groups of Texans.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In the wake of the election, President Obama’s signature health care law is back in the spotlight. Republicans, including prominent Texans, have wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law in 2010. Now, with control of the White House and Congress, Republicans have a better chance than before to dismantle it. 

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President Obama may be leaving office, but his landmark healthcare legislation is still law of the land. Enrollment for the fourth year under the Affordable Care Act began on Tuesday. We traced Obamacare in Texas through the story of one family.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

People in Texas are significantly more likely than adults nationwide to report that it has gotten harder to see a doctor in the past two years. That’s one finding in a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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When children get sick at school, it can be a big disruption. For the kids – they have to miss class –and for mom or dad, who have to leave work, try and schedule a last minute doctor’s appointment, maybe even go to the emergency room. So, what if kids could see a pediatrician without having to leave school? That’s the idea behind a telemedicine initiative run by Children’s Health. The program has gone from reaching several hundred kids to in Texas to thousands.

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The White House is challenging Dallas to beat out 19 other communities in reducing the number of people without health insurance. If the city wins, it would get a visit from the President. The deadline to sign up for 2016 health insurance plans on healthcare.gov is Dec. 15th. 

About 1 million Texans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act since enrollment efforts began in 2013. That might sound like a lot, but Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

For people battling back from an injury, or trying to live with a chronic condition, medical gear can be key to recovery. If insurance won’t pick up the tab, the cost can be devastating.

A North Texas nonprofit that’s part salvage yard and part repair shop is trying to bridge the gap.

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The deadline to sign up for health insurance for the New Year through healthcare.govis Monday, Dec. 15th.

A warning: Research shows consumers often choose a plan that’s not the best deal. We’ve got some tips for shopping health care.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Despite a very rocky start to open enrollment last year, more than 733,000 Texans bought insurance through the federal marketplace.

Still, Texas remains the state with the highest percent of uninsured people in the country. Will open enrollment this year change that? 

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The Obama administration says about eight million people have signed up for the Affordable Care Act through online exchanges – not counting those who bought plans “off-exchange” through insurance carriers. That’s a lot of people who will need to choose a primary care physician.

Dane Walters / KERA News

When you don’t have a decent savings account or wiggle room in your budget, sometimes all it takes is an expense you haven’t planned for to push you over the financial edge. That’s reality for one in three North Texans, and that’s what just happened to Natalie Berquist.

The single mom living in Lewisville is one of the people we’re following in our series One Crisis Away. Natalie has a steady job, but because of a new monthly bill, she’s giving up her apartment.

KERA's series One Crisis Away looks at four families on the financial edge. Natalie Berquist is a single mom living in Lewisville. She had been staying in a one bedroom apartment with her son Samuel, but an expense she hadn't planned for means she can no longer afford her rent, and has to move out.

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: The Cowboys make backup plans for Romo’s absence, school districts struggle with large class sizes, Ryan O’Neal wins court battle over Fawcett portrait, and more:

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Last minute shoppers are streaming in to Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic in West Dallas, seeking help to enroll in health insurance before the Dec. 23 deadline — that’s the date people have to buy insurance through the federal exchange so coverage starts Jan. 1.

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The Texas Department of Insurance decided Friday to postpone the closure of the high-risk health insurance pool, according to the Texas Tribune. That pool serves 23,000 Texans who have trouble finding health insurance due to pre-existing health conditions, like cancer or diabetes.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

There have been tons of concerns about Obamacare, and many politicians are trying to repeal it. And, in recent weeks, there have been scores of complaints about technical issues with the clunky Healthcare.gov website.

But how is the Affordable Care Act affecting North Texans? Here are four stories featuring everyday folks across Dallas-Fort Worth. Some are pleased with Obamacare, while one has no plans to sign up. Some are frustrated with the computer glitches, while one was able to sign up online right away.

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In Texas there are about a dozen different insurance companies participating in the marketplace, selling roughly 100 plans across the state. As the Texas Medical Association points out though, some areas of the state, especially rural areas, have fewer insurance options than others.

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More than 20,000 people rely on the state run Texas Health Insurance Pool. The pool insures folks with pre-existing health conditions who can’t find coverage elsewhere. In a few months, that risk pool will no longer exist. And at least one North Texas family is celebrating.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

It’s been three weeks since the health insurance marketplace opened in Texas. While we don’t know exactly how many people have made it all the way to the finish line, it’s clear plenty are still stuck. As part of KERA’s series Obamacare 101: Making The Choice, we profile of a Fort Worth woman who’s been uninsured for more than a decade.


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So what's behind the traffic jam at healthcare.gov? With the help of Dallas tech guru Mark Haider, and his simple highway analogy, you'll be an expert in no time.

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Obamacare could make getting access to healthcare a lot easier for the Riley’s. In the North Texas family of five, three are members of the Choctaw Nation and have special perks under the Affordable Care Act. As part of KERA’s series Obamacare 101: Making The Choice, we bring you a profile the Riley’s.

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Maybe you’ve heard the horror stories about the federally run health insurance marketplace: complaints about the broken website, long waits and unsuccessful sign-ups. Two pieces of good news for you: First, the glitches are getting sorted out. Second, not everyone in North Texas has to visit healthcare.gov.

You don't have to wait until Oct. 1 to start exploring your health insurance options. Get prepared now for the new marketplace with these tips.

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Lace up your shoes and get ready to jump in — the health insurance marketplace opens in less than a month. And even though the details of the plans — or prices — available to Texans on the new site haven’t been revealed, you can still get a leg up by preparing early.

Dallas County has been named on a “worst” list of 30 counties nationwide that have some of the highest numbers of uninsured.  In fact, 22 of the counties are in Texas.

The list was released by the Center for American Progress, a group which supports the implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

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