The Checkup | WYPR

The Checkup

Alin S / Flickr / Creative Commons

Welcome back to The Checkup, our weekly series on how health care is changing in Maryland. This is our final segment in the series. For seven months, we’ve dug into the details of the Affordable Care Act. How have specific groups of people have been affected by it? Who has and has not been able to get access to insurance through it? How have different components of the health care system responded to the changes?Today, we’re going to take a step back and ask the question: How does the Affordable Care Act fit into the big picture of Maryland’s health care system? 

David Hilowitz / Flickr / Creative Commons

The deadline to sign up for health insurance this year ended last night at midnight. First, we hear from a few people who were considering buying insurance. Then, Sheilah Kast talks with Brad Herring, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, about what keeps people from buying health insurance and about what insurance options are available, or not available, for people who didn’t sign up.


More than 470,000 Marylanders are of Latino origin, just over 8 percent of the state’s population.  Many of them need health insurance.  At Baltimore Medical System’s Highlandtown clinic, navigators are helping people register for care.  Many have been arriving as the March 31st deadline approaches.


Under the Affordable Care Act, people are more likely to receive care in community health centers and at home than in hospitals, which means new responsibilities for nurses.  As the state does its full sprint to educate the uninsured, we wanted to focus on how some of the most crucial players are adapting: nurses. 


This is The Checkup, our weekly series about how healthcare is changing in Maryland.  One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to change incentives for providers of healthcare, so economic rewards would be more attached to keeping patients well than to the number of tests, treatments, and procedures performed on those patients.

redwolfoz / Creative Commons

About a third of emergency room visits in Maryland could have been handled in a primary care setting. Will the Affordable Care Act change that... and, if so, when?

Are ACOs Changing the Way Doctors Work Together?

Feb 11, 2014
a.drian / Creative Commons
a.drian / Creative Commons

Today, on the Checkup, we look at Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs. Those are groups of independent providers in a particular community who join together to coordinate care—and to save money.  ACOs can include hospitals, physicians, and specialists. 

Shepherd's Clinic in Baltimore.
Matt Purdy

750,000: That was the estimated number of Marylanders without health insurance as the Affordable Care Act began to rollout. That number has dropped by about 148,000. As of mid-January, about 25,000 people had signed up for private insurance and about 123,000 had gotten Medicaid, the government coverage for certain low-income Americans. One of those people is 53-year-old Baltimorean, Hal Reinhardt. Matt Purdy talks with him about how he got treatment for his diabetes and bipolar disorder while uninsured.

Credit: Alex Proimos / Flickr / Creative Commons
Credit: Alex Proimos / Flickr / Creative Commons

The federal government is giving Maryland the okay to try a new approach to hospital care.  It’s going to change how often people are admitted to the hospital and how hospitals get paid. State officials say the new plan puts the emphasis on keeping people healthy. We hear from Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein and Carmela Coyle of the Maryland Hospital Association.

Credit: Compfight / Creative Commons
Credit: Compfight / Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers provide 45 preventive services to patients free of charge.  What does this mean for the health of individual patients?  What it could mean for the future health of the U.S., as a society And how much is it all going to cost?

Credit: Alan Cleaver / Flickr / Creative Commons
Credit: Alan Cleaver / Flickr / Creative Commons

A quarter of all Americans will deal with a substance abuse issue at some point in their lives. Of those, only about 11-percent will get treatment. The Affordable Care Act may change that. It requires that all insurance plans cover treatment for substance abuse.

Maryland expects 360,000 newly insured residents by 2020. Will it be hard for them - and harder for you - to see a primary care physician? Today on The Checkup, we ask whether Maryland is going to experience a primary care shortage, and what Southern Maryland is doing to keep the shortage it already has from getting worse.

Credit: Kurhan / stock.xchng

The federal government is closed today, but the Maryland Health Connection is open. It's the state's new online marketplace for consumers to comparison-shop and buy their own health insurance. We talk with Rebecca Pearce, executive director of the marketplace, as well as with executives of two of Maryland's health insurers about what consumers should expect.

Credit: slonecker / stock.xchng
Credit: slonecker / stock.xchng

The health-insurance exchanges are scheduled to open a week from today, and opponents are still trying to delay or defund Obamacare. In “The Checkup” we ask Politico health care reporter Paige Winfield Cunningham how it will play out here.

Today we continue our series The Checkup: How Health Care Is Changing In Maryland. We meet a retiree from Baltimore County, who’s looking for a good deal in health coverage and Karen Pollitz from the Kaiser Family Foundation, who guides us through the soon-to-open online marketplaces for health insurance.

marfis75 / Flickr / Creative Commons
marfis75 / Flickr / Creative Commons

Maryland’s health insurance exchange goes online in three weeks. How much do you know about your new options for health coverage? We ask Kathleen Westcoat from the nonprofit HealthCare Access Maryland who will help the public navigate the online marketplace.