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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Florida Health Choices marketplace, first established as a mandate-free health care marketplace, is poised to start selling plans that are compliant with the Affordable Care Act, Christine Jordan Sexton of SaintPetersBlog reports. Florida Health Choices CEO Rose Naff has asked federal health officials to help establish a means to allow shoppers who qualify for federal tax credits offered through the federal exchange to buy on the Florida site.
Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 1:05 pm
When it comes to children getting insurance, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: the number of uninsured children in Florida has dropped—as it has across the county. The bad news: Florida remains near the top of states with the number of kids who don’t have health insurance.
Exactly what would happen to the Affordable Care Act if the Supreme Court invalidates tax credits in the three dozen states where the federal government runs the program?
Legal scholars say a decision like that would deal a potentially lethal blow to the law because it would undermine the government-run insurance marketplaces that are its backbone, as well as the mandate requiring most Americans to carry coverage.
By Jordan Rau and Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News
A surge in health insurer competition appears to be helping restrain premium increases in hundreds of counties next year, with prices dropping in many places where newcomers are offering the least expensive plans, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of federal premium records.
KHN looked at premiums for the lowest-cost silver plan for a 40-year-old in 34 states where the federal government is running marketplaces for people who do not get coverage through their employers. Consumers have until Feb. 15 to enroll for coverage in 2015, the marketplace’s second year.
After several years of modest increases, American spending on medications is projected to shoot up by 12 percent this year, pushing the nation’s drug bill to between $375 billion and $385 billion, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
Several factors are driving the spending spike, including the introduction of expensive new hepatitis C drugs and fewer drug patent expirations than in previous years, the report found. Such expirations typically lead to savings as cheaper generics replace brand-name drugs.
This weekend marked the beginning of open enrollment season, the time when uninsured Floridians can sign up for health insurance on HealthCare.gov.
An estimated 1.5 million Floridians don’t have insurance.
At Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, Renard Murray, the regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services came from Atlanta to address the congregation of more than 300.
When asked who knows someone with high blood pressure, asthma or diabetes, almost everyone at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church raised a hand.
From a tailgating party with Gator fans in Gainesville to a beer festival in Pensacola, Floridians had plenty of opportunities Saturday to get in-person help signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. And as the second year of enrollment kicks off, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell is making a swing through Florida today to help get the word out.
Burwell will make a stop in Tampa Monday morning at the Navigation Lab at the University of South Florida; she will be in Miami this afternoon.
Many of the 7 million consumers who got insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law will see their premiums rise next year unless they switch to another plan, independent analysts said as the government released details Friday.
The Health and Human Services department released a massive computer file of 2015 premiums one day ahead of the start of open enrollment. Those numbers will take time to fully analyze.
Open enrollment on the federal health insurance marketplace starts on Nov. 15. The Health News Florida team is kicking off a series about the second year of open enrollment under the federal health law.
First, we take a look at HealthCare.gov, the website that people in Florida and 36 other states use to buy a health insurance plan. This year, open enrollment runs for three months, until Feb. 15, 2015.
Editor's note: Open enrollment on the federal health insurance marketplace started on Saturday, Nov. 15. The Health News Florida team is kicking off a series about the second year of open enrollment under the federal health law. First, we take a look at HealthCare.gov, the website that people in Florida and 36 other states use to buy a health insurance plan. This year, open enrollment runs for three months, until Feb. 15, 2015.
With sign-up season launching this weekend, officials sharply dialed down expectations Monday for the second year of President Barack Obama’s health insurance law.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said she’s aiming to have 9.1 million paying customers enrolled in 2015 for subsidized private coverage through HealthCare.gov and state insurance markets.
That’s more than now, but well below the 13 million that the Congressional Budget Office had projected.
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case on a subject that’s important to millions of people who receive subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law. Friday’s decision follows earlier action in July when two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the issue. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey answers some frequently asked questions about those court decisions and how they impact consumers.
Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 3:48 pm
Once again the Supreme Court will decide whether the Affordable Care Act lives or dies.
Defying expectations, the court announced Friday it has agreed to hear a case that challenges the heart of the law: subsidies that help people pay their insurance premiums. In about three dozen states, the federal government runs the online marketplaces (exchanges) where individuals can find health plans.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama's health care law that threatens subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their health insurance premiums, including Floridians.
The justices said they will review a unanimous federal appeals court ruling that upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states. Opponents argue that most of the subsidies are illegal.
Tuesday’s re-election of Republican governors in closely contested races in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Maine and Kansas dims the chances of Medicaid expansion in those states.
Advocates hoping for Democratic victories in those states were disappointed by the outcomes, but Alaska, which also has a Republican incumbent, remains in play as an independent challenger holds a narrow lead going into a count of absentee ballots.
The nation’s biggest health insurers entered last fall cautious about a major coverage expansion initiated by the health care overhaul, the federal law that aims to cover millions of uninsured people.
Investors and company executives were worried because they didn’t know how expensive new customers from the overhaul would be for insurers. They also were concerned about added costs from the law and funding cuts to government-sponsored Medicare Advantage plans, a key growth area.
The University of Kentucky’s Chandler Hospital has seen its inpatient numbers rise by 5 percent and its outpatient numbers rise by 10 percent since July. But its number of uninsured patients has dropped, from about 9 percent to 2.5 percent.
Prior to this year, says Chandler’s Dr. Michael Karpf, “we were getting paid 10 cents on the dollar” serving low-income patients. “Now we are getting 40 cents on the dollar, so the cost of care for these people isn’t totally covered, but there is a lot more reimbursement. It means we are having very strong bottom lines in the hospital.”
While the Affordable Care Act offers insurance for people living with HIV/AIDS, the plans could be too costly, the Miami Herald reports. Prices for 2015 plans won’t be announced until at least next week, but some Floridians won’t be surprised if they can’t afford it, the Herald reports.
HealthCare.gov's simpler online application is being touted as a big win for consumers. But it can't be used by immigrants in the United States legally and naturalized U.S. citizens, who represent millions of potential new health insurance customers.
That's prompting worries that many Hispanics and Asians will end up in long enrollment queues when the second sign-up season for coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law gets underway next month.