Karen Shakerdge

Karen Shakerdge is a health reporter/producer for WXXI and Side Effects Public Media. From a young anthropology student to a documentary film producer to an oral historian and now radio reporter, Karen has been asking people questions about their lives in one way or another for almost 10 years. The Association of Health Care Journalists recognized her story about liver transplantation with an Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. Her piece about breast density notification laws received a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Karen has a B.A. in Cultural Studies and Media Studies from The New School and M.A. from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

The Department of Financial Services has slapped Excellus Health Plans with a $1 million fine for multiple violations of New York insurance law.

For one, Excellus incorrectly denied 1,000 claims for contraceptive coverage, according to the Department of Financial Services, due to “internal system and process errors.”  DFS also found that Excellus failed to pay or deny claims promptly and acknowledge consumer grievances within required time frames.  

Emergency rooms must care for anyone who shows up, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. Amy Pollard, CEO of University of Rochester Medical Center’s Noyes Hospital, in Dansville, knows that federal law well.

“If you had no health insurance, but you felt ill and you presented to an emergency department here we have to take care of you. And we have to take care of you knowing we may not get paid anything for that care,” Pollard said.

But with the Affordable Care Act a lot more people -- an estimated 20 million -- got health insurance. That means hospitals haven’t been eating costs as much.

New Yorkers now have an extra two days to sign up for health insurance in time for a January 1st start date. In the past three days, more than 55,000 New Yorkers have enrolled or renewed coverage through the exchange.  

This is the busiest enrollment period yet, according the NY State of Health, the state's official health plan marketplace. The deadline – originally Thursday, December 15th but now Saturday, December 17th – is only for a January 1 start date. The general open enrollment period ends January 31st. 

David Hutchinson got health insurance for the first time in his life about a year ago. Now he’s worried he might lose it.