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Insurers are increasingly requiring patients to receive preapprovals for drugs or medical care, but even if the care is approved, that doesn't mean the insurer will necessarily pay, Kaiser Health News reports.

Why it matters: If an insurer decides not to pay for the care after the fact, that leaves patients on the hook for what can be huge medical bills.

Details: The preapprovals, often called prior authorization, may include a note that they're not a guarantee of payment, leaving insurers free to change their minds.

  • Patients also may be told that no prior authorization is required for a procedure, only to be told after they have it done that the insurer did want a prior authorization in this case — and thus isn't paying the bill.

The big picture: Prior authorization is already a controversial practice; providers say it's unnecessarily burdensome, while insurers say the practice helps to cut back on waste and excess costs.

The bottom line: Turns out there's yet another way for patients to receive a surprise medical bill.

Go deeper: Health insurers are eating higher medical costs

Go deeper

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.