AMA Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against WellPoint
The American Medical Association and several other medical societies filed a class-action lawsuit against WellPoint, Inc. yesterday, alleging that the insurer conspired with others to underpay doctors for out-of-network services, leaving patients with larger-than-necessary medical bills. The AMA filed similar suits against Aetna Health Inc. and CIGNA Corp. in February. "Physicians will not tolerate an apparent conspiracy that allows health insurers to play by their own rules without regard to patients or the legitimate costs required to care for them," said AMA President Nancy H. Nielsen in a prepared statement.
The AMA alleges that each of the insurers colluded with United Health Group subsidiary Ingenix to use skewed information to set reimbursement rates for out-of-network services. In response to the new lawsuit, WellPoint told Reuters that it is "committed to providing appropriate reimbursement for out of network services."
Are you in the market for health insurance? U.S. News's rankings of "America's Best Health Insurance Plans" can help you find the right insurer for your needs.
What You Should Know About Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease and other dementias do terrible harm to the mind and body of the individual with the disease and can also take a major toll on the health and finances of the individual's family, Sarah Baldauf writes. The Alzheimer's Association's latest annual report, "2009 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures," documents the multilevel impact of the disease that 5.3 million Americans are living with today and that affects a new person every 70 seconds. And as the oldest baby boomers are due to reach age 65 over the next two years, that rate will balloon. By midcentury, someone will develop Alzheimer's disease every 33 seconds. As the burden of Alzheimer's disease grows, states' healthcare infrastructure will be strained; some states will see more than an 80 percent increase in residents with Alzheimer's by 2025.
Consider these 10 things you should know about Alzheimer's disease. Also, read one family's story of dealing with Alzheimer's, and take a look at U.S. News's list of "America's Best Nursing Homes" if you're considering making new living arrangements for a family member.
Warning: Your Children's Books May Be Toxic
Are Peter Rabbit, Mother Goose, and Snow White giving our children lead poisoning? Not likely, but a new federal law aimed at protecting children from brain-damaging lead in toys, jewelry, and other products is causing problems in libraries, consignment shops, and used-book stores, Nancy Shute reports. The law makes it illegal to sell children's merchandise that has more than 600 parts per million of lead by weight, a level that will drop to 300 parts per million in August. It turns out that children's books printed before 1985 might have been produced with lead-based ink.
While the regulators sort this all out, here are 5 simple ways to keep your child safe now.
—January W. Payne
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