Affordable Care Act

Consumer
9:24 am
Tue March 24, 2015

On 5th Anniversary of Health Care Law, No End to Debate

Credit Megan Milanese

When President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act five years ago, he visualized a time when the political hyperbole would be silenced and ordinary people would see that the health care law improved their lives.

The White House ceremony on March 23, 2010, was an applause-filled celebration. "When I sign this bill," Obama said, "all of the overheated rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform."

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HNF Stories
10:19 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Delays Often Cost FL Federal Funds

USF Professor of Public Health Jay Wolfson
Credit USF Health News

When federal money’s on the table, most states go for it like coupon-clippers at a closeout sale.

But studies show that when it comes to seeking federal money, Florida holds back, particularly in health care. Sometimes, the state changes its mind later and asks for its share of the money, only to discover that it’s too late; other states have made off with it.

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Consumer
9:00 am
Wed March 18, 2015

FL No. 2 in National Uninsured Rate

Credit HealthCare.gov

Florida ranks No. 2 in the nation in the rate of residents without health insurance, but that figure has declined since 2010.

Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday show that Florida had an uninsured rate of 24.3 percent in 2013. Only Texas had a higher rate at 24.8 percent.

The lowest rate was 4.3 percent in Massachusetts.

Despite the high ranking, Florida's uninsured rate has declined since 2010 when it was 25.3 percent.

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HNF Stories
6:54 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Health Expansion Moves On in Senate

Senate Healthy Policy Chair Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach
Credit Florida Senate

 Defending the possible acceptance of billions of dollars in federal money, a Senate panel Tuesday unanimously approved a plan that would extend health-care coverage to about 800,000 low-income Floridians.

The plan (SB 7044), backed by the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, appears to be moving quickly in the Senate. But House Republican leaders, who for the past two years have flatly rejected accepting federal money to expand coverage through Medicaid or another program, have given no indication they will go along with the Senate.

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HNF Stories
10:26 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Tax-Time Enrollment Extension Under Way

Extra enrollment time is under way on HealthCare.gov in Florida and the 36 other states that use the federal health insurance marketplace.
HealthCare.gov

Several million Americans hit with new federal fines for going without health insurance are getting a second chance to sign up, and that could ease the sting of rising penalties for being uninsured.

But as the enrollment window reopened on Sunday in Florida and the 36 other states that use the federal health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov, it’s unclear how many know about the time-limited opportunity, let alone will take advantage of it.

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Consumer
8:52 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Florida Has Most to Lose in Subsidy Case

Credit HealthCare.gov

Nearly 8 million people could lose up to $24 billion a year in health insurance subsidies in a Supreme Court case threatening President Barack Obama's law, according to a government report released Tuesday.

The estimates by The Associated Press show what's at stake in the case. The biggest potential loser would be Florida, with nearly 1.5 million residents getting an average of $294 a month. That works to $440 million a month currently, or up to $5.2 billion a year for the state. The subsidies are delivered in the form of tax credits.

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Consumer
8:52 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Boss May Be Able To Force You To Buy Insurance

Under the health law, large employers that don’t offer their full-time workers comprehensive, affordable health insurance face a fine. But some employers are taking it a step further and requiring workers to buy the company insurance, whether they want it or not. Many workers may have no choice but to comply.

Some workers are not pleased. One disgruntled reader wrote to Kaiser Health News: “My employer is requiring me to purchase health insurance and is automatically taking the premium out of my paycheck even though I don’t want to sign up for health insurance. Is this legal?”

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HNF Stories
8:57 am
Wed March 4, 2015

No Medicaid Expansion? No Problem For Many Safety-Net Hospital Profits

Hospitals that treat many poor and uninsured patients were expected to face tough financial times in states that did not expand Medicaid under the federal law known as Obamacare.

That’s because they would get less Medicare and Medicaid funding under the Affordable Care Act, while still having to provide high levels of charity care.

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Consumer
8:58 am
Tue March 3, 2015

GOP Has Plan If Health Subsidies Lost

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin
Credit U.S. House of Representatives

Congressional Republicans sent a message Monday that they hope the Supreme Court and voters will hear: They have ideas to keep the country's health care system from crumbling if the justices obliterate a bedrock feature of President Barack Obama's heath care law.

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Consumer
7:57 am
Tue March 3, 2015

What King v. Burwell Really Means

The U.S. Supreme Court this week hears a challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. If successful, the lawsuit would cripple Obama's prized domestic achievement, a program that has brought the U.S. as close as it has ever come to universal health care.

The Affordable Care Act passed Congress in 2010 without a single Republican vote in favor.

An explanation of the legal case:

Four Words Determine the Law's Future

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Health News Florida
8:46 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Get Waiver, Avoid ACA: Former Health Czar

Alan Levine
Credit hma.com

Alan Levine, a favorite health policy wonk among Republicans, is offering some advice to the Florida Legislature: exercise a waiver, and get around much of the Affordable Care Act, Florida Politics reports. 

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Health News Florida
8:38 am
Mon March 2, 2015

FL Docs: HealthCare.gov Patients Misinformed

Credit healthcare.gov

  Doctors treating patients with Obamacare plans are encountering a lot of consumer misinformation, increased paperwork, heavier patients loads and the worry of unreliable reimbursements and payments, the Miami Herald reports.

South Florida doctors say they’ve had to turn away patients with HealthCare.gov plans to avoid these problems or have lost patients because of their misunderstanding of co-pays and deductibles, the Herald reports.

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HNF Stories
12:01 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Rep. Hudson on Medicaid Expansion: No!

Rep. Matt Hudson
Credit Florida Legislature

Florida business groups, insurers, and hospitals are pushing state officials to accept billions of dollars in federal funds to cover the low-income uninsured.

But when the 2015 legislative session opens next Tuesday, this impressive coalition will run into Rep. Matt Hudson, a Naples Republican who chairs the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

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HNF Stories
12:01 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Billions at Stake as State, Feds Negotiate Medicaid

Wikimedia Commons

When the 2015 legislative session begins next week, many of the state’s decisions on health care for the poor are on hold as state and federal Medicaid officials negotiate over funding, behind closed doors. Billions of dollars are at stake.

When it comes to health-care funding, Florida’s in a funny position. The state has twice turned down billions of dollars from federal Medicaid that would have covered care for about a million poor Floridians.

This year may be no different.

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HNF Stories
6:31 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Last Weekend to Enroll on HealthCare.gov

Ahead of the Sunday deadline to sign up for insurance on HealthCare.gov, the latest enrollment numbers show that close to 1.4 million people in Florida have signed up. That's more than any other state that uses the federal marketplace.

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HNF Stories
7:22 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Miami's Importance To Obamacare

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 4:46 pm

South Florida is home to the highest number of people signing up for Obamacare.

With just one week before the open enrollment period ends, more than 660,000 people in South Florida have gotten health insurance plans through Healthcare.gov.

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Consumer
1:24 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Experts See Need to Improve, Simplify ACA

Credit Kaiser Health News

“Repeal and replace” has been the rallying cry for Republicans since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. But now that most of the law’s provisions have taken effect, some health experts are pitching ways to improve it, rather than eliminate it.

An ideologically diverse panel at the National Health Policy Conference Monday presented somewhat different lists of ideas to make the law work better. But they all agreed on one thing: The Affordable Care Act is too complicated.

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Health News Florida
9:14 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Health Choices Struggles With Enrollment

Rose Naff, CEO of Florida Health Choices

The state-run health insurance marketplace Florida Health Choices has enrolled just 66 people despite spending $75,000 on outreach efforts, the Palm Beach Post reports. 

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HNF Stories
7:56 am
Sat February 7, 2015

In Puerto Rico, Health Overhaul Gets An Incomplete

Javier Villa (right) with his wife and son in their home in Puerto Rico.
Anders Kelto/NPR

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 11:41 am

Javier Villa has worked at his family's used car dealership in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ever since he finished high school.

Villa, 35, always assumed the insurance plan he had through work would take care of him and his family. But a couple years ago, he ran into a problem.

He was taking a shower one morning when he noticed a lump on the side of his throat. "Very big, like maybe a tennis ball," he says.

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HNF Stories
8:54 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Birth Control Exemption Clarified

Credit Wikimedia Commons

A judge in Florida has clarified the steps organizations must take to get exemptions to the birth control mandate required under the Affordable Care Act.

The federal judge in Fort Myers on Tuesday granted an injunction to the Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, allowing them to stop paying for contraception in their plan.

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HNF Stories
8:51 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Florida HealthCare.gov Tally Tops 1.3M

More than 1.3 million Floridians have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace so far under the Affordable Care Act.

Federal health officials said Wednesday that about 57 percent are part of the nearly 1 million who are re-enrolling and 43 percent selected a plan for the first time. About 32 percent were under the age of 35.

The second enrollment period started in November and ends Feb. 15. Consumers can sign up in person, call the government hotline or go online. Those who don't sign up during that time may have to wait until next year.

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Consumer
8:55 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Medical Device Tax Repeal No Slam Dunk

It flew through the Republican-run House in 2012, and a year later 79 of the Democratic-led Senate's 100 members embraced it. With Republicans now controlling both chambers of Congress, the chances for repealing the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices are better than ever.

Yet abolishing the tax won't be easy, even though Republicans rank it a top priority and are backed by Democrats from states that rely on the industry for jobs.

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HNF Stories
8:20 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Tampa-Area Hospitals Face $151M Cut

Credit Tampa General Hospital

Hillsborough County hospitals are scheduled to lose more than $151 million a year in funds for care of the uninsured beginning June 30, according to a report released Thursday.

The scheduled changes to two revenue streams “represent a tremendous loss of federal funding to the county and pose a significant risk,” warns the report by the Community Justice Project, part of Florida Legal Services.

Statewide, the coming annual loss will be $2.1 billion, estimates co-author Charlotte Cassel.

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HNF Stories
12:33 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Free Clinics Beat Insurance, for Some

Gary Babcock of Clearwater
Carol Gentry Health News Florida

With open enrollment for health insurance ending in just two weeks, the push is on to get everyone who qualifies signed up. But some of the uninsured are balking, and it’s not only the so-called “young invincibles” who think they don’t need it.

Gary Babcock of Clearwater, for example, is neither young nor invincible.  He’s 55, with diabetes so severe he has to give himself daily insulin shots.

Remove

At his income level, he could choose from several Affordable Care Act plans with no premium, fully subsidized.

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HNF Stories
9:34 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Floridians Picking Plans with Financial Help

Federal health officials say most Floridians who have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act chose a plan that comes with financial assistance.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that 93 percent of Floridians selected a plan with financial assistance.

As of mid-January, some 1.2 million Florida residents had signed up or were automatically re-enrolled for coverage.

Nationwide, that figure is 9.5 million consumers.

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Health News Florida
9:36 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Hialeah ZIP Code Leads US in Enrollment

 A ZIP code in Hialeah has had more people enroll in a health plan on HealthCare.gov than any other place in the country using the federal exchange, the Miami Herald reports. As of mid-January, 12,330 people in Hialeah’s 33012 ZIP Code had signed up for an insurance plan.

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Consumer
2:59 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Tax Preparers Get Ready To Be Bearers Of Bad News About Health Law

Lou Graham prepares taxes in Connecticut and is ready to answer client questions about the Affordable Care Act.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 4:17 pm

Are you thinking about tax day yet? Your friendly neighborhood tax preparer is. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen declared this tax season one of the most complicated ever, partly because this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will show up on your tax form.

Tax preparers from coast to coast are trying to get ready. Sue Ellen Smith manages an H&R Block office in San Francisco, and she is expecting things to get busy soon.

"This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way," Smith says.

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Consumer
7:48 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Study: Fewer Struggle with Medical Costs

Not only do more Americans have health insurance, but the number struggling with medical costs has dropped since President Barack Obama's health care law expanded coverage, according to a study released Thursday.

The Commonwealth Fund's biennial health insurance survey found that the share of U.S. adults who did not get needed care because of cost dropped from 43 percent in 2012 to 36 percent last year, as the health care law's main coverage expansion went into full swing.

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Health News Florida
8:31 am
Wed January 14, 2015

FL Chamber Supporting Health Care Expansion

A new health-care policy plan from the Florida Chamber of Commerce backs an expansion of health coverage under an alternative to Medicaid expansion, the Florida Times-Union reports. The chamber president says they “largely agree" with the "A Healthy Florida Works” plan backed by several Florida business groups.

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HNF Stories
1:45 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Report's Forecast Grim for Hospitals

Joan Alker

Florida’s “safety-net” hospitals – the ones that provide the most charity care -- received another in a series of depressing projections Wednesday in a report from Florida Legal Services.  

Taken together, the three reports issued to date by the patient-advocacy organization describe a pending loss of $2 billion a year to the state’s health-care providers for the poor. Federal funding that has propped them up is scheduled to end June 30, Florida Legal Services said.

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