health insurance

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

Got a medical bill that seems too high? First step: Ask if there’s been a mistake. Next step, fight back.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Fed-up with sticker shock from air ambulance bills, one insurer has pressed its case all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

PITTSBURG, Kansas — Alvin Letner doesn’t remember signing the form where he promises to pay a medical bill of nearly $50,000 he hadn’t yet seen.

Much of that day in July 2019 is a blank for him. A dog ran onto the highway as he and other motorcyclists on a veterans fundraiser rode by. It knocked him off his antique BMW, breaking his neck, three ribs and an elbow.

The small crew of health care workers at Guadalupe Clinic in Wichita — aided by dozens more who volunteer there — sees nearly 2,000 people a year.

Every one of them is uninsured, and all visits are free.

Guadalupe can’t yet check patients for COVID-19. But emergency federal legislation might help the nonprofit roll out that service to the low-income neighborhoods it serves.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Chris Costantini lay in a cold sweat, his shoulder dislocated after slipping on a porch in Kansas City, Kansas.

He’d been out alone, knocking on doors and rustling up voters for the upcoming midterms in October 2018. Now he waited for an ambulance, full of anxiety about how the injury could hinder his next performance at the Kansas City Ballet.

Though its Medicaid contract is still at stake, Aetna Better Health is making progress, Kansas lawmakers and state regulators said this week. 

“There has been a good response from them,” Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Lee Norman told a panel of lawmakers Tuesday.

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — In 2017, an estimated 38,000 kids in Kansas didn’t have health insurance. That’s according to data recently released by the Kansas Health Institute.

The highest rates of uninsured kids live in the western and southwestern quadrants of the state, but large numbers of uninsured children also reside in the state’s more populous counties. The lack of Medicaid expansion could be contributing to the issue, but experts say it’s likely not the only reason.

TOPEKA, Kansas The 2020 federal marketplace for individual health insurance includes more options than ever for Kansas, and premiums for some of those plans are less expensive than 2019. But for the second year in a row, all of the plans will leave consumers footing the full bill for most out-of-network care.

The silver lining: Two new insurance companies have jumped into Kansas this year, offering health plans in some of the state’s most populous counties. A third insurer that’s already active in Kansas City and its suburbs is expanding to 12 more southeast and central Kansas counties.

A private insurer’s 2018 premiums in Kansas ran too high — at least compared to the medical bills it had to pay for customers that year.

That means thousands of Kansans get money back this fall because they got overcharged last year.

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