Health Highlights: Sept. 26, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Most Americans Believe Health Care Law Will Be Implemented: Poll

About seven in 10 Americans believe the Obama administration's health care law will go fully into effect with some changes, a nationwide survey of 1,334 adults finds.

Only 12 percent of respondents said they expect the Affordable Care Act to be repealed completely, according to the Associated Press-GfK online poll conducted Aug. 3-13.

Forty-one percent believe the law will be fully implemented with minor changes, 31 percent said it will be implemented with major changes, and 11 percent expect it will be implemented as passed.

Sixty percent of those ages 18 to 29 think the law will be implemented with only minor changes or none at all.

People 65 and older are most likely to oppose the bill and those younger than 45 are less likely to be against it, the AP reported.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they want the law repealed completely, while 44 percent said it should be implemented as written. Even though Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed to the law and in favor of repeal, only 21 percent believe that will actually happen, the poll found.

There's been little change in public opinion since the law was passed in 2010. At that time, 30 percent supported the law and 40 percent opposed it. Those figures are now 32 percent and 36 percent, respectively, the AP reported.

Knowledge about the law is increasing. The poll found that more people know about rules that allow adult children to stay on their parents' coverage until age 26, protect people with pre-existing medical conditions, and impose insurance mandates on individuals and businesses, the AP reported.

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Seniors May Face Large Medicare Drug Plan Premium Hikes

Many seniors could face double-digit premium hikes for their Medicare prescription drug plans next year if they don't look for a better deal, according to the private firm Avalere Health.

All of the 10 most popular plans will have premium increases next year, but the most popular plan -- AARP Medicare Rx Preferred -- is only rising 57 cents per month, from $39.85 to $40.42, the Associated Press reported.

Two other plans in the top 10 will also have single-digit increases: SilverScript Basic (8 percent) and WellCare Classic (3 percent), the AP said.

Seven plans will have double-digit increases, Avalere said. These are: the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (23 percent); First Health Part D Premier (18 percent); First Health Part D Value Plus (17 percent); Cigna Medicare Rx Plan One (15 percent); Express Scripts Medicare-Value (13 percent); the HealthSpring Prescription Drug Plan (12 percent); and Humana Enhanced (11 percent).

"The average senior is going to benefit by carefully scrutinizing their situation, because every year the market changes," Avalere President Dan Mendelson said, the AP reported.

Posted: September 2012


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