Health & Spirit

An idea borrowed from South Africa: Ordinary citizens fill gaps in health care

Health / Health & Fitness /

NEW YORK -- Destini Belton isn't a doctor or a nurse. She's a trained health coach, and as a trusted neighbor in Harlem, she goes where clinics and hospitals can't -- into patients' homes to understand the mundane but vital details of their lives.

She visits people like Jessica Gonzalez who went blind at the age of 22 because of uncontrolled ...Read more

New California law will more finely parse health data on Asians

Health / Health & Fitness /

For years, California has used a limited number of categories to map out health trends among Asian ethnic groups. People of Taiwanese descent may have been folded into the Chinese demographic group in identifying death, disease and pregnancy rates. Fijian people were lumped into the category of "other Asian."

But thanks to a new law, the ...Read more

Obamacare enrollment is expected to grow by just 1 million next year

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Under pressure to stabilize wobbly insurance markets nationwide, the Obama administration is making a new push to sign up Americans for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, aiming to increase enrollment by about 1 million in 2017.

With insurers canceling health plans or raising premiums by double digits in many parts ...Read more

Memory lapses — normal aging? Or is it time to see your doctor?

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: My father, who is 79 years old and in good health, has become quite forgetful. He seems to recognize that it's happening, but laughs it off and chalks it up to old age. I know memory problems are common as people get older, but I'm worried. Should I have him see his doctor?

A: Although memory lapses are a normal part of aging,...Read more

Are Blue Cross Blue Shield plans benefiting unfairly from program to offset cost of sicker patients?

Health / Health & Fitness /

Some health insurers say they're paying too much to rival Blue Cross Blue Shield plans under a key pillar of the federal health law designed to compensate insurers that take on sicker and more expensive patients.

The critics' chief complaint is that the Affordable Care Act's risk-adjustment program unfairly rewards health plans that have excess...Read more

UnitedHealth shares jump nearly 7 percent as insurer puts Obamacare effects behind

Health / Health & Fitness /

MINNEAPOLIS -- As UnitedHealth Group winds down money-losing business in government health exchanges, executives said Tuesday the company's financial performance should gain speed next year, particularly its Optum division for health services.

Leaders of the nation's largest insurer raised their outlook after the company's third-quarter profit ...Read more

Scarcity of mental health care means patients — especially kids — land in ER

Health / Health & Fitness /

On any given day, pediatrician Lindsay Irvin estimates a quarter of her patients need psychiatric help. She sees teens who say they are suicidal, and elementary schoolchildren who suffer chest pains stemming from bullying anxiety.

Though she does her best, she doesn't consider herself qualified to treat them at the level they need at her ...Read more

Study: 'Doc, this election is killing me'

Health / Health & Fitness /

The presidential election is driving people to their wits' end, according to a new poll from the American Psychological Association.

The poll found more than half of Americans adults are stressed -- regardless of party affiliation -- about the election. To be specific, the poll found 52 percent of Americans ages 18 and older said the election ...Read more

Frustration runs deep for customers forced to change marketplace plans routinely

Health / Health & Fitness /

Andrea Schankman's three-year relationship with her insurer, Coventry Health Care of Missouri, has been contentious, with disputes over what treatments it would pay for. Nonetheless, like other Missourians, Schankman was unnerved to receive a notice from Coventry last month informing her that her policy was not being offered in 2017.

With her ...Read more

California shows how federal health care law can work

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Even as turmoil in insurance markets nationwide fuels renewed election-year attacks on the Affordable Care Act, California is emerging as a clear illustration of what the law can achieve.

The state has recorded some of the nation's most dramatic gains in health coverage since 2013 while building a competitive insurance marketplace...Read more

Home remedies: irritable bowel syndrome

Health / Health & Fitness /

From eating fiber-filled foods to exercising more, making some simple changes can help ease irritable bowel syndrome. Although your body may not respond immediately to these changes, your goal is to find long-term, not temporary, solutions:

-- Experiment with fiber. When you have irritable bowel syndrome, fiber can be a mixed blessing. Although...Read more

Multivitamins on the outs, but these supplements are in

Health / Health & Fitness /

Watch out multivitamins, here comes vitamin D, fish oil and probiotics.

New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found Americans aren't using multivitamins as much, but that probiotics, vitamin D and fish oil are gaining popularity. That could be tied to recent studies that questioned the value of multivitamins ...Read more

More than 1 million covered by Affordable Care Act to lose plans as insurers quit

Health / Health & Fitness /

NEW YORK -- A growing number of people who have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act finding out their plans will disappear from the program next year, forcing them to find new coverage even as options shrink and prices rise.

At least 1.4 million people in 32 states will lose the plans they have now, according to state officials. That...Read more

The weight loss plateau: What it means and how you can get past it

Health / Health & Fitness /

You've been exercising daily. You've improved your diet. And you've seen the number on the scale decrease. Not only do you look better, you feel better, too. However, you reach a point where you no longer are seeing results, despite the effort you are making to do so. Throughout your weight loss journey, you may find yourself at a dead end. ...Read more

Everything you wanted to know about your health plan (but were afraid to ask)

Health / Health & Fitness /

It can be well worth the effort to go up against your health plan if it denies you treatment you think you need.

That's just one of the many lessons consumers can glean by using a new online tool unveiled last week by the Department of Managed Health Care.

It shows that last year, nearly two-thirds of Anthem Blue Cross enrollees who filed an ...Read more

Preventing vital health care information from being lost in translation

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- A 9-year-old girl, misdiagnosed with the stomach flu, died after a doctor failed to communicate to her Vietnamese-speaking parents that the drug he prescribed for her could have dangerous side effects.

A 78-year-old stroke victim had to have her leg amputated after doctors and nurses didn't understand her when she complained, in ...Read more

Pregnancy and deep vein thrombosis

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: I've been a runner since high school but was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) during my first pregnancy, so stopped running for a few months. I am now nine weeks pregnant with my second baby and continue to run for exercise, but I'm worried I'll develop DVT again. Should I be concerned?

A: Because you experienced a ...Read more

Rising health premiums rankle individuals paying full price

Health / Health & Fitness /

ATLANTA -- Shela Bryan, 63, has been comparing prices for individual health insurance plans since May, and she can't believe what she sees.

"They cost a thousand, $1,200 (a month), and they have a deductible of $6,000," she said. "I don't know how they think anyone can afford that."

Bryan, who lives in Hull, Ga., a hamlet of about 200 near ...Read more

Remember this: Brain game claims can't be proven, study says

Health / Health & Fitness /

The booming brain game industry appeals to people eager to fight age-related memory loss and otherwise boost their brain power. But can playing brain games on your phone or computer really make you smarter?

Alas, no, according to an exhaustive review of published studies on brain-training products including Lumosity, CogniFit and BrainHQ.

"We ...Read more

Calcium supplements could increase risk of heart disease, new study finds

Health / Health & Fitness /

BALTIMORE -- Calcium supplements that many women take to boost bone health increase their risk for heart disease, a new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and other institutions has found.

The results show calcium supplements make people more prone to plaque buildup in arteries, which contributes to the risk of a heart attack.

The ...Read more