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What you should know about Obamacare and taxes

The Affordable Care Act has provided for expanded coverage for many residents.  It has also created new considerations and a new component to tax filing.  For residents who bought their insurance through a public exchange, Access Health CT in Connecticut, there are some things that you should be aware of.  The CT Mirror has just published an article with information that will help you understand what is going on.

It is through your tax filing that the government will confirm whether you purchased health insurance— and you will pay a penalty if you didn’t.  A new IRS form, the 1095, will be sent to you by your exchange and should be received in the beginning of February.  In CT, 3600 recipients will not get their form due to a problem that the exchange ran into, and for them, the forms are expected to be received by the end of February.  This form will provide you with the information that you need to complete Form 8962 – which you will now file with your return if you received premium assistance through advance credit payments (whether or not you otherwise are required to file a tax return) or if you want to claim the premium tax credit when you file your return.

There are things that some residents may not have clearly understood when they applied for insurance through the exchange.  Did you know that the subsidies that many residents received are tax credits that were paid in advance?  The amount is based on a person’s income, so when you file your taxes, you will be reconciling the credit with your income.  It may balance out.  However, you may get a refund or you may actually have to pay some back.

For more information and a more detailed explanation of what you should know, read more in the CT Mirror article, Six things to know about Obamacare and taxes.

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10 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You…

Did you know that common objects like stethoscopes in a hospital can be contaminated with disease-causing germs?  Or that the best time to schedule surgery is during banking hours?  10 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Hospital Infections by Rosemary Black and 10 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You Before Surgery by Jennifer J. Brown, PhD, are two articles on the everyday HEALTH Healthy Living website.  They are both filled with useful suggestions and a wealth of additional information through the included links. 

 

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Hospital Reports Of Surgical, Medication Errors Climb

Connecticut Health I-Team By: Lisa Chedekel | 1/6/2015 |  Connecticut hospitals reported record numbers of patients killed or seriously injured by hospital errors in 2013, with large increases in the numbers of falls, medication mistakes and perforations during surgical procedures, a new state report shows.

The report, covering 2013, marks the first time that the number of so-called “adverse events” in hospitals and other health care facilities has topped 500 – double the number in 2012, when 244 such incidents were reported. Much of the increase was due to an expansion of reporting on pressure ulcers, which added a new category with 233 “unstageable” ulcers that were not counted before. Even without that category, however, reports of adverse events climbed 20 percent over 2012.   Read more

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When It Comes to Health Insurance, People Don’t Know What They Need

Earlier this month, Lisa Freeman wrote a guest blog on the Connecticut Health Foundation website sharing her view that the health care system is not giving our residents the necessary information or knowledge to make informed choices in their health care insurance plans.  The difference, between choosing one plan over another can mean the difference in thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.  You can read the complete post here.

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Medicare Cuts Payments To 721 Hospitals With Highest Rates Of Infections, Injuries

Medicare is penalizing hospitals with high rates of potentially avoidable mistakes that can harm patients, known as “hospital-acquired conditions.”  To determine penalties, Medicare ranked hospitals for three types of HACs: Central-line associated bloodstream infections or CLABSIs, Catheter-associated urinary tract infections or CAUTIs and Serious Complications which is based on eight types of injuries, including blood clots, bed sores and falls.  Based on the hospital’s ranking from Medicare on these three specific hospital-acquired conditions, those whose score fell within the highest numbers are seeing their reimbursement impacted.   The full story and list can be found in the Kaiser Health News Article.

Connecticut’s hospitals on the list can be viewed at this link.

 

 

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Here’s why healthcare should be talking about net neutrality

When we hear about net neutrality, we often think of how it will affect and raise costs when we stream our favorite podcast, or download a movie.  But this issue has the potential to significantly impact the “ease” of access to our medical files and other medical related information.  According to a recent Modern Healthcare article, “Net neutrality means everyone sending data is treated the same by carriers like Verizon and others; no one can pay or be charged more for faster transmission speeds and none can be barred from sending data. The tool that net neutrality advocates want to use—Title II of the FCC’s authorization act—would essentially make internet traffic into a public utility.”  If this does not continue, the cost for accessing and transferring medical files and other electronic data could increase substantially.  For a current and clear explanation on net neutrality, read the attached article from Modern Healthcare by Darius Tahir  | November 19, 2014.

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Study: Unneeded Stress Tests Too Common

MedPage Today  |  Published: Oct 14, 2014  By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer  

 

Cardiac stress tests done with imaging have risen substantially and more than a third appeared inappropriate, according to a national study.   While the annual frequency of cardiac stress testing stayed constant after adjustment for other factors, the proportion done with imaging rose from 59% in 1993-1995 to 87% in 2008-2010, Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues found. Read more

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Patients tend to listen more to female doctors

Hartford Courant Health 

 

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Vicodin and other prescription painkillers will soon be harder to get

ConsumerReports.Org | Published: September 05, 2014

U.S. healthcare providers write more prescriptions for Vicodin and other narcotic painkillers that combine the opioid hydrocodone with acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) than for any other drug. But as of Oct. 6, 2014, when a new ruling from the Drug Enforcement Agency goes into effect, those medications and other hydrocodone-combination products are going to be harder to get.  Read more

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When Patients Read What Their Doctors Write

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