11:57 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Thousands of Tennesseans Losing Current Health Insurance to Affordable Care Act

About 66,000 people who get individual health plans through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee are being notified that they must pick a new plan due to new federal regulations.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, which is the largest underwriter of individual health plans in the state, and other insurance companies have begun sending out the letters to inform clients who have policies that don't meet new federal regulations.

Roy Vaughn, vice president for Blue Cross in Tennessee, told The Tennessean that letters are going out as policies come up for renewal and the company is pointing out similar plans that meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Vaughn said the letters are to help people choose a replacement so they don't have a lapse in coverage.

4:40 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Kentucky Official: Thousands Losing Current Health Insurance Plans Will Get Better Deal

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes

About 280,000 Kentuckians will have to trade in their current health insurance policies in the months ahead and enroll in other plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act.  One Kentucky official is confident those affected will get a better deal. 

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes oversees the commonwealth’s online health exchange.  She tells WKU Public Radio that those who don’t get to keep their current insurance plans will get better coverage under the federal health care law.

"There are a lot of plans out there that people claim they love and enjoy, but I assure you, the plans they can receive now are better," claims Haynes.  "They're richer benefits and plans."

Haynes says some current insurance policies don’t meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which grants coverage for pre-existing conditions and expands coverage to a wide range of preventive care services. 

Asked about the Obama administration’s earlier claim that people could keep their current insurance, Haynes says that’s still the case for about 96 percent of Kentuckians.

9:43 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Kentucky Children Rank High in Number of Negative Experiences Early in Life

A report says Kentucky has among the highest percentages of children who have had three or more adverse experiences in their homes.

Those experiences include divorce, an incarcerated parent or substance abuse in their homes. And research suggests that those experiences can negatively affect children for years.

The Kids Count: First Eight Years report released Monday says 10 percent of Kentucky kids have experienced three or more of those factors.

That’s ties Montana for the highest percentage in the U.S.

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5:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

American Cancer Society Needs Bowling Green Study Participants

The American Cancer Society is looking to enroll 300 people from the Bowling Green area in a study.  People between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are eligible to enroll. 

"You fill out an initial survey when you sign up to be part of the lifestyle survey and then you get a survey every year," says Angie Geron, Community Representative for the American Cancer Society.  "It asks you about your daily habits like how long you sit and stand, how much you weigh, how many hours a night you sleep, all those things we take for granted that we don't think influence our life." 

American Cancer Society prevention studies began in the 1950s and have led to discoveries such as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, and the role obesity plays in the risk of several cancers. 

"It's a way we can fight back for our loved ones that have been diagnosed," states Geron.  "It's a way we can do something to impact the future as far as cancer research is concerned."

Enrollment for this latest study begins November 20.  You can learn more information by clicking here.

8:04 am
Sun November 3, 2013

Reproductive Rights Rally Takes Aim at Upcoming Kentucky General Assembly Session

Activist Fausta Luchini address the crowd.
Credit Jonathan Meador, Kentucky Public Radio

Arguing that some Kentucky legislators routinely file bills that would be, if enacted, harmful to women, activists rallied Saturday outside the state Capitol to support what they called "reproductive justice" in advance of the 2014 General Assembly session.

Roughly 75 activists caravanned from Louisville to Frankfort to advocate for legislation that would expand access to abortion and contraceptives, family support programs and comprehensive, science-based sex education.

Speakers at the rally lambasted what some called "religious conservatives" in Kentucky legislature who constantly introduce legislation that they claim harm low-income women.

"In Kentucky, year after year, there are proposals that continue to go before the legislature that would seek to limit a person's access to comprehensive sexuality education; seek to limit a person's access to the full range of pregnancy-related healthcare, including contraception and abortion; and seek to deny family support," Dawn Cooley, a minister at Louisville's First Unitarian Church, told the crowd.

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1:53 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Buyer Beware: Bogus Websites Designed to Look Like Official Health Exchange Sites

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection has some advice about how to avoid online scams related to the new federal health care law.

"Do not ever enter your personal information--if you're trying to sign up for a health care exchange--into any website that has the .com or .net address," said Allison Martin, the communications director for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office. "The only legitimate health care exchanges will be located with a .gov address."

Martin says scammers try to take advantage whenever a major federal or state law is changed. She says fraudulent web sites have been created to sell fake discount medical plans to unsuspecting consumers.

"The Attorney General sent cease and desist letters to the operators of two websites, and also sent civil subpoenas requesting information about these websites that mimicked the national health care exchange website."

The only website Kentuckians should use to sign up for the statewide health exchange is:

8:50 am
Mon October 14, 2013

New Prescription Drug Law Takes Effect in Tennessee

Beginning this month, prescriptions for opioid pain medicines and benzodiazepine medicines may not be dispensed in Tennessee in quantities that exceed a 30-day supply.

The new limits apply to anyone dispensing the drugs. That includes pharmacies, dispensaries and mail-order programs located outside the state.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, some of the drugs limited under the new law are Lortab, Oxycontin, Percocet, Xanax and Valium.

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12:05 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

While Researching Geriatric Health in Kenya, WKU Student Meets Grandmother of President Obama

WKU student and Somerset native Amy Correll (right) met Sarah Obama, the President's biological grandmother, during her research trip to Kenya.
Credit Amy Correll

Kevin's interview with Amy Correll

It's not unusual for a college student to travel overseas as part of a study abroad program or research effort. What is unusual, however, is meeting the grandmother of the sitting U.S. president.

That's exactly what happened to Amy Correll, a Somerset native and WKU student who recently traveled to Kenya to conduct research for her honor's thesis on geriatric health studies.

Amy spoke to WKU Public Radio Thursday about her research and how she came to meet Sarah Obama. Here are some excerpts from our interview:

Tell us about what you were researching while in Kenya.

"We recognized a lot of needs, even in the hospital setting. And I was curious to know how elders there were functioning outside of that. I visited some very rural areas, did home visits, and did a survey through a translator with residents ages 60 and above."

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9:06 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Study Finds Indiana with Big Jump in Overdose Deaths

A new study has found that deaths in Indiana from drug misuse have quadrupled since 1999 for a jump bigger than all but three states.

The study by the Trust for America's Health found Indiana had the country's 17th highest rate of drug overdose deaths. The Indianapolis Star reports most of those deaths are from painkillers and other prescription drugs.

The study says Indiana's overdose death rate rose to 14.4 per 100,000 people in 2010 — from 3.2 in 1999. West Virginia had the nation's highest rate at 28.9.

State officials have started a campaign to increase awareness about the problem and ways for people to protect their painkillers.

Prescription drugs were blamed for 718 overdose deaths in Indiana in 2011, a nearly 10 percent increase from 2010.

5:00 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Official: Kentucky is not Enrolling Dead People in Insurance Under Obamacare

A state official is condemning some national media reports that say Kentucky's health exchange is enrolling dead people. 

An instruction on the Kynect website says "If you are filling out this application on behalf of a person who has recently passed away, enter the deceased person's date of death."  This part of the application is actually for those who would have been eligible for Medicaid before death.  Medicaid will pay three months of medical expenses prior to someone's death.  Gwenda Bond in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services says this is not some provision of Obamacare.

"This is something that Medicaid has always allowed, it's part of the federal Medicaid program," explains Bond.  "Every state, as far as I know, that participates in the Medicaid program follows this exact same guideline.  The requirement itself is the same everywhere."

Bond says it also allows the state to prevent fraud.  If a person came in at a later time and tried to get benefits with someone else's identity, the system would immediately catch it by having a date of death.