An estimated 931,000 Floridians could lose $4.8 billion in subsidies to buy health insurance if a federal appeals court decision Tuesday striking down a major part of President Obama's signature health care law is upheld.
The ruling in Halbig vs. Burwell by the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit could mean premium increases for millions of Americans who rely on federally run insurance exchanges because their states would not create their own....
ST. PETERSBURG — Charlene Lake thought she got a decent deal through the Affordable Care Act marketplace: a Humana HMO that included a family doctor a few miles from her home.
Five months later, Lake wonders if she can even use the insurance she bought.
Her plan's dominant health care provider, JSA Medical Group, recently announced that it would take no new patients covered by Humana's exchange HMOs at least until fall. That leaves Lake no choice but to use the community health centers left in her plan's network, rather than the traditional physician's practice on which she planned....
The first cases of locally acquired chikungunya fever in the United States were reported Thursday in Florida: one in Miami-Dade County and the other in Palm Beach County, the Florida Department of Health announced.
Chikungunya is a disease spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. If a person is infected and bitten by a mosquito, that mosquito could later spread the infection by biting another person. Chikungunya is not contagious from person to person, is typically not life-threatening and will likely resolve on its own, state officials said....
TAMPA — Tampa General Hospital has been ranked as the No. 2 hospital in Florida by U.S. News & World Report for the second year in a row.
TGH, ranked as the No. 1 hospital in the Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area by the magazine, was also listed as one of the top 50 hospitals nationally in four specialities: cardiology and heart surgery; nephrology; orthopedics; and urology....
During a radio talk show this week about right-to-die laws, host Diane Rehm made a very personal disclosure: Suffering terribly from Parkinson's disease, her husband John stopped eating and drinking to hasten his death.
It was his only remaining choice, she said, after his doctor told him he could not legally or ethically help him end his life.
"John took the extraordinarily courageous route of saying, 'I will no longer drink, I will no longer eat,' " Rehm told listeners of her nationally syndicated public radio program....
Consumer advocates are pushing for the release of rate filings by the state's health insurers, saying Floridians shouldn't be kept in the dark on premium prices for next year.
All but two of the dozen health insurers that want to sell plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace failed to indicate on forms posted on a state website whether they're seeking an increase or decrease in their monthly premium prices....
Few items that beachgoers use this Fourth of July weekend are as distinctly American as their bottles, tubes and cans of sunscreen. But that shouldn't be a point of pride, according to a coalition of dermatologists, cancer research groups and sunscreen makers.
Sunscreens sold in the United States are missing some of the latest and most effective ingredients for blocking the type of ultraviolet rays associated with premature aging and serious skin cancer, says the Public Access to Sunscreens Coalition, called PASS for short....
Floridians who buy their health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace will have new companies to choose from next year, but how much they'll pay is still unclear.
About a dozen health insurers filed documents by Friday's federal deadline indicating they intend to sell marketplace plans in Florida next year. The list includes returning big players like Florida Blue, Aetna, Cigna and Humana, as well as United Healthcare, which did not participate in the marketplace this year. Each insurer can sell multiple types of plans, and rates can vary across the state....
ST. PETERSBURG — A joint research and education facility is planned on 1.4 acres the University of South Florida gave to All Children's Hospital this week, a deal said to show the two institutions' committed relationship three years after the pediatric center joined Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The property is currently a parking lot next to USF's research building known for James Rosenquist's giant Band-Aid sculpture on the outside. The land will be used for a "research, education and training facility to support innovations in pediatric care and expand the future collaborative efforts of the two organizations,'' USF and All Children's said in a joint statement on Wednesday....
Over the past two decades, the search for relief from back pain led skyrocketing numbers of Americans to a costly procedure that bonds vertebrae together. But as evidence mounted that spinal fusion surgery was used too often for the wrong people, insurer Cigna decided in 2011 to see how its own members had fared.
The news was startling: 87 percent of customers who had spinal fusion to treat pain due to wear and tear on spinal discs were still in so much pain two years later that they needed more therapies or drugs. Nearly 15 percent had more surgery. Total cost of the post-surgery claims: $11 million. That's on top of the initial fusion surgeries, which can carry price tags of $100,000 each, though insurers don't pay that much....
Florida may enjoy a reputation as a haven for the elderly, but the Sunshine State ranks as one of nation's worst in helping keep seniors living independently and out of nursing homes, according to a national study released today.
The new scorecard on long-term services for seniors and the physically disabled puts Florida at No. 43 overall on five measurements, including nursing home affordability, quality of care and support for family caregivers, according to the study from AARP, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation. ...
TAMPA — The scandal over patient care at the nation's veterans hospitals has pushed to the forefront a long-simmering issue: The critical shortage of primary care doctors.
One of the big reasons for that problem? Medical students, carrying an average education debt of $170,000, are more likely to pursue higher-paying specialities than primary care.
"The single biggest deterrent for students going into primary care is their level of debt,'' said Dr. Charles Lockwood, the new dean of University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine. "It's something I take personally.''...
A Medicare Advantage plan that abruptly dumped a popular Tampa Bay area medical practice and sent consumers scrambling for new doctors recently is shutting down entirely at the end of the month after a judge determined that it is insolvent.
Physicians United Plan will be liquidated on July 1 under the order signed by a Leon County judge earlier this week. The Orlando-based plan — which has about 39,000 members statewide, including 1,200 in the Tampa Bay area — was running a $13 million deficit, according to court records....
Most Tampa Bay hospitals have halted a surgical technique used in many hysterectomies after a warning from the federal government that the procedure spreads an aggressive cancer in some women.
Tampa General Hospital, BayCare Health System and the Florida Hospital system have joined institutions across the country in suspending use of a motorized blade called the power morcellator. So have Bayfront Health St. Petersburg along with local hospitals owned by Community Health Systems. HCA also has asked its hospitals to heed the Food and Drug Administration's advice....
TAMPA — University of South Florida public health researchers will receive up to $4.35 million in federal funding to study the most effective ways to get people at risk of colorectal cancer tested early for the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded USF's Florida Prevention Research Center $750,000 this year for research that will identify people in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties who aren't getting appropriate preventive care, and look for ways to lower the barriers they face in getting screened....