health insurance

By 2018, the state of Washington should have a treasure trove of data on the cost and quality of health care.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest News Network

At the Yakima County courthouse, Presiding District Court Judge Kevin Roy walks past a rattling dot-matrix printer and long rows of color-coded folders to a shelf of files awaiting his signature. “If I was to pull one of these files, Judge Roy says, taking one from the shelf, “Yep, Memorial Physicians, PLLC. That’s not by luck.”

TGPRN Premera Blue Cross / Associated Press

Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler announced Tuesday he’ll lead a multi-state investigation of Premera Blue Cross. That follows the cyber attack that may have compromised the social security numbers and medical information of 11 million customers in January.

Kreidler said Premera owes the public a more detailed explanation.

Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange is one step closer to being dismantled.

Cover Oregon

One of the first things legislators are expected to do when the session starts next week, is to put an end to 'Cover Oregon'. The state's failed health insurance exchange.

Speaking about the up-coming session, Democrats, Republicans and Governor John Kitzhaber all agree: 'Cover Oregon' is finished.

"What we'll simply be doing is folding the remaining functions of what was 'Cover Oregon' into the insurance division," Kitzhaber said.

The leader of the Senate Republicans, Ted Ferrioli, agreed.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

There's a small but growing trend in healthcare--a trend where doctors are paid differently, so they can focus on a relationship with their patients, and where patients are able to see doctors without worrying  about the cost.


Currently, if a doctor wants to talk to a patient about dying, he or she has to do it off-the-clock. They can't bill insurance companies for the time.

Portland Democrat, Earl Blumenauer, says he has 60 co-sponsors for his bill to allow such conversations to be covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

"It will pay for a 93-year-old woman with terminal cancer to have her hip replaced, but it won't pay a couple of hundred bucks for the doctor to have a conversation with this woman and her family to find out what her wishes are," he said.

Washington Insurer Settles Suit Over Autism Treatment

Oct 17, 2014
bloomsberries / Flickr

The biggest health insurance company in Washington, Regence BlueShield, has settled a pair of class action lawsuits for $6 million.

Families with autistic children took the company to court over its failure to cover a treatment known as 'Applied Behavioral Therapy.' It involves extensive one-on-one work between a child and a therapist, and can cost $50,000 a year or more.

Cover Oregon

The leaders of Oregon's struggling health insurance exchange will be grilled by state lawmakers in a series of hearings at the capitol on Monday and Tuesday.

Medicaid Payment Woes Plague Idaho Mental-Health Providers

Aug 25, 2014
Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The state’s effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them.