Everything You Need to Make Last-Minute Eclipse Plans

In case you haven’t heard, there’s an eclipse coming on Monday, August 21st. If you live anywhere in the continental United States, you’ll be able to see at least a partial eclipse from your home, but to get the full experience you’ll need to be inside a narrow path called the “path of totality,” where the moon will completely block out the sun.

So if you can, you should definitely try to make a trip into that path of totality for yourself. It’ll likely be the best chance you’ll ever get to watch an eclipse in your lifetime. It’s a little last minute but still more than possible to take in the eclipse the right way. So if you’re just making plans now, he’s what you should know before you hop in the car and start driving.

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The first thing you’ll need to decide is where to go. There are twelve states in the path of totality, and each one offers something unique. Check out our state-by-state guide to help you pick the best viewing spot.

And once you’re there, you’ll need some special eye equipment. Even during an eclipse, you can’t just stare at the sun without hurting your eyes. You’ll need to buy some eclipse glasses, or a pair of eclipse binoculars if you want to get fancy. You could also build a homemade pinhole camera to view the sun safely without spending money.

If you want to take some photos of the event, your standard camera equipment won’t be enough. There’s a lot of preparation you’ll need to do, so be sure to check out our guide to photographing the solar eclipse.

But most importantly of all: Go out and see it if you can. Yes, it’s last minute, but if you’re in driving time of the totality, you can make it! Even if you can’t a partial eclipse is a heck of a thing to see. While you’re there though, make sure you enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event. For maximum viewing pleasure, here’s our list of eclipse viewing tips. But here’s perhaps the most important tip of them all: relax and have fun, and just watch.

Narrow insurance plans more likely to exclude NCI-designated or NCCN Cancer Centers — ScienceDaily

Cancer patients in the United States may be unable to access care at the nation’s top hospitals due to narrow insurance plan coverage — leaving patients to choose between lower premiums or access to higher-quality cancer care. A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows common, so-called “narrow network” insurance plans — lower-premium plans with reduced access to certain providers — are more likely to exclude doctors associated with National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Centers. Researchers published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and call for greater access for patients and more transparency from insurers.

“Because cancer care and monitoring is costly, there are strong incentives for insurers to be selective when it comes to oncologists, excluding those who are most likely to attract the most complex and expensive cases,” said the study’s lead author Laura Yasaitis, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

“Consumers may benefit financially from the fact that these narrow networks generally have lower premiums, but they may face reduced access to the higher-quality providers in their market,” added Daniel Polsky, PhD, the executive director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the study’s co-senior author.

The study authors examined cancer provider networks offered on the 2014 individual health insurance exchanges and then determined which oncologists were affiliated with NCI-Designated Cancer Centers or National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Cancer Centers. These cancer hospitals are recognized for their scientific and research leadership, quality and safety initiatives, and access to expert physicians and clinical trials. NCCN Member Institutions are particularly recognized for higher-quality care, and treatment at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers is associated with lower mortality than other hospitals, particularly among more severely ill patients and those with more advanced disease. Narrower networks were less likely to include physicians associated with NCI-Designated and NCCN Member Institutions.

“To see such a robust result was surprising,” Yasaitis said. “The finding that narrower networks were more likely to exclude NCI and NCCN oncologists was consistent no matter how we looked at it. This is not just a few networks. It’s a clear trend.”

Researchers said the results point to two major problems: Transparency and access.

“Patients should be able to easily figure out whether the physicians they might need will be covered under a given plan,” said the study’s co-senior author Justin E. Bekelman, MD, an associate professor of Radiation Oncology and Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics. The authors suggest that insurers report doctor’s affiliations with NCI and NCCN Cancer Centers so that consumers can make more informed choices.

The authors also suggest that insurers offer mechanisms that would allow patients to seek care out of network without incurring penalties in exceptional circumstances. “If patients have narrow network plans and absolutely need the kind of complex cancer care that they can only receive from one of these providers, there should be a standard exception process to allow patients to access the care they need,” Bekelman said.

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Materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.