Affordable Care Act

HNF Stories
12:01 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Rep. Hudson on Medicaid Expansion: No!

Rep. Matt Hudson

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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Opinion
8:10 am
Mon January 12, 2015

FL Should Resolve to Expand Medicaid

Marc Yacht M.D.

In spite of massive conservative efforts to derail the Affordable Care Act, the train continues to lumber down the track. The Washington Post writes that at least 7.1 million people so far have enrolled in 2015 health plans. Somewhat short of projected enrollment with many states such as Florida instituting effective sign-up obstacles, the plan known as Obamacare marches on.

Fourteen states running their own alternative sign-ups can claim 633,000 enrollees. Florida projections suggest more than 1 million will be signed up through government exchanges by the deadline, February 15.

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Consumer
9:10 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Health Care Sign-Ups Steady as Uninsured Rate Hits New Low

Sign-ups under President Barack Obama's health care law grew slowly but steadily over the New Year's holiday, as the share of Americans still lacking coverage hit its lowest level in years.

The Obama administration reported Wednesday that nearly 103,000 people signed up last week in the 37 states where the federal government is running online health insurance markets, bringing total enrollment for 2015 to 6.6 million in those states. The remaining states are running their own exchanges.

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Consumer
9:01 am
Wed January 7, 2015

House Bill: Firms Could Skirt Health Law by Hiring Vets

On the new Congress' first day, the House unanimously approved Republican legislation Tuesday making it easier for smaller companies to avoid providing health care coverage to their workers by hiring veterans.

The measure was approved 412-0 and is the first of many expected GOP bills aimed at President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, which was enacted over uniform Republican opposition.

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Consumer
8:39 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Docs Face Pay Cuts, Patients May Pay The Price

Credit Kaiser Health News

Andy Pasternak, a family doctor in Reno, Nev., has seen more than 100 new Medicaid patients this year after the state expanded the insurance program under the Affordable Care Act.

But he won’t be taking any new ones after Dec. 31. That’s when the law’s two-year pay raise for primary care doctors like him who see Medicaid patients expires, resulting in fee reductions of 43 percent on average across the country, according to the nonpartisan Urban Institute.

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HNF Stories
12:18 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

FL Leads in Marketplace Enrollment

What a difference a year makes.

With its technical troubles largely behind it, Healthcare.gov enrolled 1.9 million new customers for health insurance between Nov. 15 and Dec. 18.

Florida by far led the nation in that enrollment, with 673,255 people selecting plans on Healthcare.gov. That’s nearly double the signups in Texas, the other large state using the federally run marketplace.

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HNF Stories
9:08 am
Thu December 18, 2014

FL Senate Could Reconsider Expansion

Senate President Andy Gardiner
Credit MyFloridaHouse.gov

  Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner is leaving open the possibility that his chamber will consider an expansion of health care coverage for low-income Floridians.

“Intriguing" was the word Gardiner used on Wednesday for a plan from business and hospital leaders that would accept billions of dollars under the federal Affordable Care Act and provide coverage through private insurers. The plan, called "A Healthy Florida Works," was introduced last week.

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HNF Stories
9:04 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Nearly 2.5M In FL, 36 Other States Pick Plans on HealthCare.gov

More than 1 million people selected a health plan during the fourth week of the health law’s open enrollment and nearly 2.5 million have done so since it began Nov. 15, federal officials said Tuesday.

“And this was before an extremely busy weekend,” said Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees the federal online marketplace used by 37 states.

Tuesday’s report did not include enrollment for the final three days before the Dec. 15 deadline for people to enroll if they want coverage to begin Jan. 1.

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HNF Stories
8:40 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Florida Matters: Year 2 of Enrollment on HealthCare.gov (LISTEN)

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:30 am

It's the second year of enrollment for health insurance plans under the federal health law on HealthCare.gov, the website that Floridians, and people in dozens of other states, use to shop for health insurance.

As of Dec. 15, we have passed a key deadline, the deadline to buy a plan to have coverage that starts Jan. 1. But open enrollment runs through Feb. 15, 2015, and we have gathered a panel to talk about what consumers be doing now if they still need to get health insurance coverage to comply with the federal health law known as Obamacare.

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HNF Stories
12:29 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Young Adults Remain Enrollment Challenge

Credit Megan Milanese

Christian Ward lounges on a couch in the University of South Florida student center in Tampa. He props crutches against the armrest and stretches out his leg, which is covered in a cast up to his thigh.

Like a lot of college students, Ward’s parents handle his health insurance. He'll tell you that having it definitely came in handy during his moment of need.

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HNF Stories
8:58 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Health Law Impacts Primary Care Doc Shortage

Credit healthcare.gov

When Olivia Papa signed up for a new health plan last year, her insurance company assigned her to a primary care doctor. The relatively healthy 61-year-old didn't try to see the doctor until last month, when she and her husband both needed authorization to see separate specialists.

She called the doctor's office several times without luck.

"They told me that they were not on the plan, they were never on the plan and they'd been trying to get their name off the plan all year," said Papa, who recently bought a plan from a different insurance company.

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HNF Stories
8:48 am
Mon December 8, 2014

FL Leaders Discuss Big Issues Facing State

Credit AP

  Expanding health care coverage, solving water problems, improving education and handling issues like legalizing medical marijuana and gambling were among the topics Florida leaders discussed during a summit Friday.

The idea was to bring together a bipartisan mix of political, business and education leaders to look at the major issues facing Florida in the immediate and distant future and to brainstorm on how the state should tackle them.

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Health News Florida
8:44 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Obamacare Plans on Health Choices Dec. 15

Florida Health Choices will start selling health plans that are compliant with the Affordable Care Act the week of Dec. 15, Christine Jordan Sexton of SaintPetersBlog reports. This soft rollout is scheduled to start on the last day consumers can buy a plan for coverage that starts on Jan. 1. The privately-run health marketplace, which previously only offered limited benefit plans, will spend $75,000 to advertise its new products.

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