John Perryman is a pediatrician with Mercyhealth in Roscoe. He sees patients struggling to afford medications. Some families, he says, disappear for stretches of time when they fall off an insurance plan. On this week's Friday Forum, Jenna Dooley talks with Perryman about his view as well as from a major opponent of the idea.


Flickr user / Images Money "Healthcare Costs" (CC BY 2.0)

Several people with ties to a Rockford home health care agency have been indicted in a national crackdown on opioids.

Zosima Victuelles, Mylene Masiclat, Maribel Cabrera, Yaseen Odeh and Mohammad Raza Khan work for Sure Care, a home health agency with offices in Rockford and Glendale Heights. They were charged in a 28-count indictment by the U.S. Attorney's Office with conspiracy to offer and pay, and to solicit and receive, kickbacks and bribes for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries. 

  Medicare’s annual open enrollment ends December 7th.   State insurance program director Sandy Leith says it’s a good time for residents to review their coverage.  


"If you do nothing, and your plan is still going to be there in 2017, then you'll wake up January 1 in the same plan and that's fine. We just want to make sure everybody does a check-up annually to make sure that their Medicare health plans and drug plans work best for them."


"stethoscope" by flickr use rosmary (CC BY 2.0)

Nearly 349,000 Illinois residents have signed up for health insurance or were automatically renewed for coverage though the federal marketplace

Eighty percent of the enrollees live in the Chicago area. Enrollment figures released this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reflect those who picked plans or were automatically renewed from Nov. 1 through Jan. 9.

Today is an enrollment deadline for coverage starting Feb. 1. Open enrollment ends Jan. 31. The enrollment period applies only to people buying private health insurance.

Health officials say more than 500,000 Medicare patients in Illinois will have their health care needs coordinated by federally designated "accountable care organizations'' this year.

Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System is one of several new such networks serving Illinois patients.

Spokesman Brian Reardon says more than 21,000 patients will be part of the Hospital Sisters Health System accountable care organization, or ACO.


A bigger portion of older people's income could be going to healthcare costs next year.

This change is based on something seemingly unrelated: Low gas prices.

Each year, the federal government releases what's called a "consumer price index," that lays out the amount of inflation observed in the U.S. economy.

Social Security and other government beneficiaries will receive a cost of living increase tied to inflation. But economists this year predict there will be no cost of living adjustment, known as a COLA, because gas prices have been so low.

Flickr user / Images Money "Healthcare Costs" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Department on Aging says seniors and disabled people can get free help enrolling in Medicare now through early December.

Agency Director John Holton says deciding on coverage options can be overwhelming. Counselors from the agency's Senior Health Insurance Program can help beneficiaries and caregivers understand their options.

Illinois officials will hold an informational seminar from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at NIU's Holmes Student Center.

The event is for Illinois retirees with Medicare coverage who are enrolled in or eligible for the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois Program.

Illinois Hospitals Face Penalties From Medicare

Oct 3, 2014

Some of Northern Illinois' most prominent research hospitals face penalties for having too many patients return for a second visit within a month of being admitted.

Medicare will send less reimbursement money to about 65 percent of the state's hospitals in the coming year because of the number of re-admissions. That's according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.