Affordable Care Act

Florida Healthy Kids Corporation is blaming President Obama's health care law after notifying parents that health insurance premiums will increase for thousands of kids starting next month, jumping from $140 to as high as $284.

The families of more than 35,000 children enrolled in the Florida Healthy Kids program will soon have to choose between two more expensive plans, or find new insurance.

The monthly premiums for many of the plans sold on the federal health insurance marketplace will be increasing for Floridians in 2016, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. 

Sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law doesn't start for another couple of months, but the next few days are crucial for hundreds of thousands of customers at risk of losing financial aid when they renew coverage for 2016.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Health care sharing ministries, an alternative to health insurance allowed under the Affordable Care Act, have grown in popularity since 2010 with about 450,000 Americans now participating, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

More than a dozen states that opted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act have seen enrollments surge way beyond projections, raising concerns that the added costs will strain their budgets when federal aid is scaled back starting in two years.

Some lawmakers warn the price of expanding the health care program for poor and lower-income Americans could mean less money available for other state services, including education.

Daylina Miller / Health News Florida

Last month's ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act means more than 1.4 million Floridians will keep their tax subsidies for health plans purchased on the federal marketplace at HealthCare.gov. 

Florida and three dozen other states opted to use the federal marketplace instead of creating their own. That prompted a case that challenged the availability of tax subsidies for people in states that did not create their own marketplaces.

Following a trend among other health care groups trying to improve their bottom line, Planned Parenthood has merged offices in Orlando, Naples and Sarasota to create Planned Parenthood of Southeast and Central Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Planned Parenthood says it now has many more patients who have health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and it has had to hire more staff to handle the 25 third-party health insurance contracts.

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

An analysis by the South Florida Business Journal of Florida Office of Insurance Regulation data on HMOs shows nearly half of Florida’s managed-care health insurance companies lost money in 2014.

The House voted Tuesday to kill a federal panel that is supposed to find ways to curb Medicare spending, as Republicans ignored a veto threat and leveled their latest blow at President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board have never been appointed, and the panel has never recommended savings from Medicare, the $600-billion-a-year health care program for the elderly.

Study: 19 Million Uninsured If Law Repealed

Jun 22, 2015
U.S. Supreme Court

Repealing the federal health law would add an additional 19 million to the ranks of the uninsured in 2016 and increase the federal deficit over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Friday.

HealthCare.gov

The Obama administration gave conditional approval Monday to Arkansas, Delaware and Pennsylvania to expand their roles in the insurance marketplaces created under the 2010 health care law, ahead of a high court decision that could wipe out federal health insurance subsidies for millions.

U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court could wipe away health insurance for millions of Americans when it resolves the latest fight over President Barack Obama's health overhaul. But would the court take away a benefit from so many people? Should the justices even consider such consequences?

FL Tops U.S. For Health Subsidies

Jun 3, 2015

More than 10 million people have signed up for private health insurance this year under the federal health law, the administration said Tuesday. That puts the nation finally within reach of coverage for all, but it may not last.

The report from the Department of Health and Human Services comes as dozens of insurers are proposing double-digit premium hikes for next year, raising concerns about future affordability. And the Supreme Court is weighing the legality of subsidized premiums for millions of consumers in more than 30 states. A decision is due around the end of the month.

Senators Rake Medicaid Official Over Coals

Jun 3, 2015
Agency for Health Care Administration

 A Senate committee tore into a high-ranking official from Gov. Rick Scott's administration Tuesday in a sign of mounting frustration with the governor's role in the legislative battle over health care.

During a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting held to approve a proposal (SB 2-A) aimed at helping lower-income Floridians get health insurance, committee members from both parties spent more than an hour grilling state Medicaid director Justin Senior over a perceived lack of respect for the Senate.

The Florida Legislature kicked off a 20-day special session Monday, with legislative leaders sounding more open to compromise as they race against the clock to pass a new state budget.

The conciliatory tone espoused by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner was different than it was just a few weeks ago when the Republican-controlled Legislature ended its session amid finger-pointing and lawsuits.

Economy, ACA Boosts Travel Nurse Demand

May 28, 2015
Courtesy of Cherisse Dillard

With her children grown and husband nearing retirement, Amy Reynolds was ready to leave behind snowy Flagstaff, Ariz., to travel but she wasn’t ready to give up her nursing career.

She didn’t have to.

For the past three years, Reynolds, 55, has been a travel nurse — working for about three months at a time at hospitals in California, Washington, Texas and Idaho, among other states. Her husband accompanies her on the assignments. “It’s been wonderful,” she said in May after starting a stint in Sacramento. “It’s given us a chance to try out other parts of the country.”

A Supreme Court ruling due in a few weeks could wipe out health insurance for millions of people covered by President Barack Obama's health care law. But it's Republicans — not White House officials — who have been talking about damage control.

A likely reason: Twenty-six of the 34 states that would be most affected by the ruling have Republican governors, and 22 of the 24 GOP Senate seats up in 2016 are in those states.

Older, Uninsured Adults from 12 To 8 Percent

May 26, 2015

The health law’s expansion of Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes over the poverty line was key to reducing the uninsured rate among 50- to 64-year-olds from nearly 12 to 8 percent in 2014, according to a new analysis.

“Clearly most of the gains in coverage were in Medicaid or non-group coverage,” says study co-author Jane Sung, a senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute, which conducted the study with the Urban Institute.

U.S. House of Representatives

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi predicted Wednesday that Republicans will "rue the day" if the Supreme Court buys their arguments and invalidates tax subsidies for millions of people under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Republicans have said they will try to ensure people don't lose insurance if the high court rules this summer against tax subsidies for health care coverage in certain states. But they haven't said how they would do it.

Associated Press

Just days after flying to Washington in hopes of convincing the Obama administration to extend federal hospital funds, Gov. Rick Scott was back in the nation's capital Tuesday slamming federal health officials for denying his request.

The administration wants the Florida governor to expand Medicaid to more than 800,000 Floridians, which it says is a more efficient use of federal funds than paying hospitals retroactively for caring for the uninsured.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Obama administration rebuffed Florida's Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to extend federal funds for hospitals that treat the uninsured, increasing the pressure on states that have refused to expand coverage for low-income people under the president's health care law.

Congressional Republicans have yet to unite behind any of the growing number of proposals for responding to a Supreme Court ruling that could void federal subsidies that millions of people use to buy coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law. The decision is expected by June.

Those proposing plans include:

Surgeon General Gets Rough Treatment in Senate

Apr 8, 2015
University of South Florida

In another sign of growing tension about a Senate plan to expand health coverage for low-income Floridians, a Senate committee Tuesday tabled the confirmation of state Surgeon General John Armstrong after questioning him about the issue.

The move by the Senate Health Policy Committee came a day after Gov. Rick Scott --- Armstrong's boss --- opposed the plan to use federal money to provide health coverage to an estimated 800,000 Floridians through a private insurance system.

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."

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.

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.

Health Expansion Moves On in Senate

Mar 17, 2015
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.

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.

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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