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NEWS
December 11, 2005
The Maryland Health Insurance Plan is one of the state's greatest unknown success stories. It's a government-sponsored health plan for people who are too sick to qualify for private insurance. Here's how it works. Take a middle-age man with multiple sclerosis who can't get private insurance, for instance. He doesn't qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, and he can't afford the $1,300 monthly cost of medication on his own. Once accepted into the MHIP program, he pays a premium (as well as co-pays and deductibles)
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NEWS
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar,LOS ANGELES TIMES | June 11, 2005
WASHINGTON - Medicare has received a stack of bids from private health plans vying to offer prescription coverage to its 42 million beneficiaries, easing fears that seniors will face a lack of choices when the program takes effect next year. Industry officials say 10 major insurers have submitted bids to offer plans in all 50 states, and a number of other companies are competing to provide benefits in various regions of the country. Medicare spokesman Gary Karr said the agency is not ready to release specifics, but "we are getting a robust amount of interest from prescription plans."
NEWS
September 13, 2004
IT'S ALL VERY well for presidential candidates to be squawking over potential terrorist attacks. But there is a real danger looming that isn't getting nearly as much attention, though its impact is likely to be far broader - the soaring cost of health care. The Bush administration deftly buried the news on Labor Day weekend that Medicare premiums will rise next year by 17 percent to $78.20 a month. That's a lot of money for retirees on fixed incomes - often elderly widows living exclusively on Social Security - and it doesn't even buy drugs.
BUSINESS
By Knight Ridder/Tribune | January 4, 2004
How you can avoid the hassle of private mortgage insurance Buying a house by making a down payment of less than 20 percent can add an extra $10 to $200 to the monthly bill if you have to obtain private mortgage insurance. There are strategies, however, to avoid private mortgage insurance. Consider a "piggyback" loan. If you can come up with a 10 percent down payment, the other 10 percent can be supplied through a private loan - giving you the 20 percent down payment. The smaller piggyback loan often comes with a higher interest rate, but it can be a better deal after tax considerations.
NEWS
By Benjamin L. Cardin | December 8, 2003
FOR CENTURIES, the first rule of medicine has been to "do no harm," but Congress has just seriously harmed a program that has provided America's seniors with a lifeline for nearly 40 years. I have long supported providing seniors with a prescription drug benefit within Medicare, but the newly passed Medicare bill will cause more harm than good. Under the pretext of offering "choice" to seniors and encouraging free-market competition, this bill gives an unfair advantage to private health plans, an advantage that over time will weaken the guarantee of Medicare as we know it. This bill grants private insurers billions in federal subsidies to encourage them to re-enter the senior market.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | December 7, 2003
WASHINGTON - Medicare beneficiaries will not be allowed to buy insurance to cover their share of prescription drug costs under the new Medicare bill to be signed tomorrow by President Bush, the legislation says. Millions of Medicare beneficiaries have bought private insurance to fill gaps in Medicare. But a little-noticed provision of the bill prohibits the sale of any Medigap policy that would help pay drug costs after Jan. 1, 2006, when the new Medicare drug benefit becomes available.
NEWS
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Julie Hirschfeld Davis,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | November 18, 2003
WASHINGTON - Both sides in the polarized debate over the future of Medicare seem to agree on one thing: The sweeping overhaul Congress is set to consider this week would shake the foundations of the health program for the elderly and disabled, bringing the most far-reaching changes to the program since its birth in 1965. They just disagree over whether that is good or bad for America's senior citizens. Foes of the bill, slated for final votes this week, invoke the phrase "end Medicare as we know it," saying it would take the first steps toward privatizing the program and forcing seniors to bear the load of exploding health care costs.
NEWS
By Julie Bell and Julie Bell,SUN STAFF | June 4, 2003
Maryland's top health administrator said yesterday that he is developing a proposal to ensure that all state residents have at least a basic package of health care benefits. Nelson J. Sabatini, secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said the concept of universal health coverage has the endorsement of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., although the governor has not endorsed a particular plan. "The governor's very supportive," Sabatini said, adding he discussed the issue with Ehrlich two to three weeks ago. "I talked to him about it and said we need to pursue it, and he said, `Go ahead.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | February 23, 2003
A CAMPAIGN is about to get under way on Capitol Hill that could produce significant new tax savings for more than 10 million homeowners as early as this year. The objective is reversal of an IRS policy that has vexed real estate tax experts for years: the agency's steadfast refusal to allow deductions for mortgage insurance premium payments, whether for private insurance or government-backed guaranty programs. If successful, the coming campaign could open the door to millions of dollars of tax write-offs to homeowners and lower the cost of homeownership for large numbers of first-time buyers - the principal users of mortgage insurance programs.
NEWS
December 29, 2002
IMAGINE SAM CHEEK'S incredulity at receiving this one-paragraph letter from the Baltimore-area hospital caring for his son, who had tried to cut his throat a month earlier: "We plan to discharge your son Andrew on February 25, 2002. If you do not come to take Andrew home on that date, we will notify Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services, that he is an abandoned child in need of placement." An abandoned child? Just weeks before, the doctors had told Mr. Cheek that his 13-year-old son needed to be placed in a therapeutic group home after his hospital stay.
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