health insurance | KERA News

health insurance

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:

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

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.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

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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Since health savings accounts (HSAs) were authorized by congress ten years ago, they’ve been a hit with both employers and employees. The accounts, which are always paired with a high-deductible health plan, allow consumers to put away money for medical expenses without paying income tax on their savings.

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled its new HealthCare.gov website, featuring a 24/7 educational hotline for information about the health insurance marketplace set to open on October 1st. 

Lauren Silverman

There is a serious doctor shortage in Texas. Nationwide, the state ranks near the bottom when it comes to doctor-patient ratios, and that’s only expected to get worse as more people gain access to insurance with the Affordable Care Act. For decades, nurse practitioners have argued they can help fill the gaps in primary care – if only there were fewer restrictions. Now, legislation giving nurses more autonomy has been signed into law.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released data for the first time comparing average hospital charges for the 100 most common Medicare claims. A Washington Post analysis of the 10 most common medical procedures showed hospitals in Texas routinely had higher prices than the rest of the country.

Courtesy Chris Ewin

Ten-minute physicals and health insurance paperwork aren't just frustrating for patients – they're a pain for doctors, too. One of every 10 Texas doctors say they are moving away from accepting insurance and toward a flat fee for coverage. They call it "concierge care," or direct medicine.

More than 4,000 U.S. doctors offer concierge services. That’s 30 percent more than last year. And Texas is a hot zone: at least a dozen doctors have gone concierge in Dallas-Fort Worth alone. Here’s a basic overview.

Gov. Rick Perry has notified the federal government that Texas will not create its own insurance exchange as part of the new federal health care plan. Health insurance exchanges are required under the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare. Governor Perry’s decision means Washington will likely develop the guidelines for a federally-run exchange for Texas.

The population explosion in North Texas’ has brought a growing number of children without health insurance, and some of the counties affected come as a surprise.

Bill Zeeble

Dallas County has approved an employee health plan that will insure unmarried, gay or lesbian partners. The county becomes just the third in Texas with a domestic partner policy.

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Governor Rick Perry is turning down a state health insurance exchange and expansion of Medicaid. Those are two key provisions in the federal health care overhaul.

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