Affordable Care Act

HNF Stories
11:04 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Appeals Courts Split on Subsidies

US Court of Appeals, Washington, DC
Credit US Court of Appeals

An appeals court in Washington, D.C. issued a decision this morning that would wipe out an estimated $4.8 billion a year in subsidies to Florida individuals and families who signed up for a health plan on the federal health marketplace this year. That would make health insurance unaffordable to most of the nearly 1 million Floridians who enrolled.

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HNF Stories
8:58 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

$4.8B in FL Subsidies at Stake

Credit commons.wikimedia.org

A court case challenging the Affordable Care Act's subsidies for plans sold on the federal marketplace could have an outsize effect on Florida, according to a new analysis.

A ruling is expected any day on Halbig v Burwell from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. If the government loses and further legal maneuvers fail, the 34 states that rely on the federal exchange would see a $36-billion loss of subsidies, three Urban Institute researchers project.

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HNF Stories
11:00 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

How HMOs Hid Rates on State Site

Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry
Credit Lottie Watts

How much will it cost Floridians to buy coverage next year on Healthcare.gov? Lots of people want to know, but the insurers are keeping the prices secret in an unprecedented way.

(Editor's note: This is a conversation between WUSF All Things Considered Host Craig Kopp and Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry.)

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HNF Stories
7:53 am
Tue July 15, 2014

FL in Last Place for ACA Grants

Florida ranks last in the country in per-person funding from the Affordable Care Act, a new study shows, and that doesn’t even include the billions of dollars the state is forfeiting by saying no to Medicaid expansion.

The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation at the University of Michigan performed the analysis of ACA grant totals between the time the law was signed in March 2010 and the end of September 2013.

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Health News Florida
9:35 am
Mon July 14, 2014

FL Docs Shun Obamacare Plan Holders

Nearly 1 million Floridians have signed up for coverage via the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but some in South Florida are having to battle with doctors for treatment, the Miami Herald reports.

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HNF Stories
10:50 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Uninsured Rate Drops, but Remains High

A lot more Floridians have health coverage compared to a year ago, but the state continues to have one of the nation’s highest uninsured rates, two new studies show.

An estimated 26 percent of working-age Floridians remain uninsured, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey that looks at enrollment since the Affordable Care Act enrollment launched last October.

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Health News Florida
10:24 am
Wed July 2, 2014

FL Missing Out on 63,800 Jobs?

The White House will release a state-by-state report Wednesday which estimates that a Medicaid expansion in Florida would generate 63,800 jobs from 2014-2017.  Most of the jobs would be in health care, while providing health care to 848,000 people, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

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Health News Florida
10:24 am
Mon June 30, 2014

More Plans to Compete in '15

The number of health insurers willing to compete in the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace for Florida enrollees for 2015 has grown, according to forms filed with a state agency by Friday's deadline. One that stayed out last year, giant UnitedHealthcare, is among them.

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Health News Florida
10:51 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Orlando Health: No Merger

Orlando Health announced Wednesday that it is no longer seeking a partner for merger or acquisition because its own finances are healthy and there is no longer a need, the Orlando Sentinel reports.  While the not-for-profit health-care system had received several proposals, its board decided Monday to remain independent, a decision that goes against the nationwide trend of hospital mergers.  The board also decided to begin a national search for a new

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HNF Stories
5:39 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

State Backtracks on Rate Proposals

The information posted by health insurers on a state website indicating they would not seek a rate increase for 2015 in Florida's individual market was "incorrect" and has been taken down, the Office of Insurance Regulation said late Tuesday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the false information came to light only after Health News Florida published an article on Tuesday with the headline: "No Rate Increase? Can It Be?"

The answer, it turns out, is no.

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HNF Stories
10:54 am
Tue June 24, 2014

No Rate Increase? Can It Be?

Update: Late Tuesday, the state Office of Insurance Regulation said information posted about 2015 individual market health insurance rates was incorrect and has been taken off its website. See more.

Something unprecedented may be unfolding in Florida's individual health-insurance market: None of the nine companies that have filed their 2015 rate requests so far wants an increase.

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HNF Stories
10:54 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Florida Premiums Average $68/Mo.

Floridians who bought health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace and received tax credits got a pretty good deal, according to federal data.

They spent an average of $68 a month, considerably less than the national average of $82, the charts show. (See page 23 in the report)

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Health News Florida
10:58 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Loophole in Health Law: Ministries

Some people refuse to buy insurance that complies with the Affordable Care Act for political reasons. Others simply don't think it's really affordable.

The New York Times reports that a growing number of them have turned to the religious loophole in the health law. Two of those profiled are Florida women who are members of a faith-based nonprofit called Christian Healthcare Ministries.

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HNF Stories
9:34 am
Fri May 30, 2014

4 FL Insurers Accused of Discrimination

Two health organizations filed a complaint with federal health officials Thursday alleging some Florida insurance companies are violating the Affordable Care Act by structuring their insurance plans in a way that discourage consumers with HIV and AIDS from choosing those plans.

The National Health Law Program and The AIDS Institute of Tampa said four insurance companies offering plans in Florida through the federal online exchange required HIV and AIDS patients to pay a percentage of their often expensive drugs instead of a flat co-pay.

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Opinion
11:35 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Scott Turns Back on Needy Uninsured

John Romano

Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano tells how Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a long-time opponent of the Affordable Care Act, nevertheless has asked the federal government for ACA funds to cover his state's uninsured citizens.

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Health News Florida
10:59 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Anti-'ObamaCare' Ads Dominate

Floridians who feel they have been deluged by negative political ads with an anti-"Obamacare" theme are not mistaken: A new study shows spending on negative Affordable Care Act ads dwarfed positive ones 15 to 1.

An example of one such ad by Americans for Prosperity aired for three weeks in the Panhandle district of Congressman Steve Southerland, R-FL.

Here is the national story from Associated Press:

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Health News Florida
9:46 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Doc 'With Heart' Helps Uninsured Man

Since being diagnosed with a heart condition, Mark Heath has lost his home, his boat and most of his possessions. As one of the 800,000 Floridians trapped in the state’s Medicaid gap, he told the Daytona Beach News-Journal he didn’t have the means or access to needed medical care.

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Consumer
8:57 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Cheaper Plans Bring Complaints

When Marie Bien-Aime first enrolled in a Healthcare.gov plan, she picked one that avoided a monthly payment.

Then the 59-year-old cook at a Miami restaurant realized her longtime health clinic didn't take the plan. Shortly before the enrollment deadline, Bien-Aime upgraded to a plan that costs $37 per month.

"Paying $37 isn't good for me, but I had to do it because I wanted to keep my doctor because he's so good," said Bien-Aime, who was previously uninsured.

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Health News Florida
10:59 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Taxpayers Good to WellCare, Humana

Taxpayers have been good to Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans Inc., and they're about to get even more generous. 

In WellCare's case, the benefactor is Medicaid. But Humana, another company that is big in Florida and is releasing earnings, apparently is benefiting from enrollment through the Affordable Care Act, as Forbes reports.

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HNF Stories
4:15 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Nearly 1M Floridians Enroll

Credit healthcare.gov

Nearly 1 million Floridians signed up for a health insurance plan through the federally-run Health Insurance Marketplace during the first open enrollment period, according to numbers from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Among the states using the federal government's exchange -- healthcare.gov -- Florida had the highest number, with 983,479 enrolled.

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Health News Florida
10:16 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Scott Goofs in Hunt for ACA Gripes

Gov. Rick Scott, who has been orchestrating anti-"Obamacare" meetings with senior citizens around the state and using them as fodder for campaign commercials, picked the wrong senior center in Boca Raton. As the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports, of 20 older voters he talked to, only one had a complaint, about having a hard time finding an orthopedic surgeon.

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HNF Stories
1:49 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Former Foster Kids Qualify for Medicaid

Thousands of former foster youth are gaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The new law extends Medicaid coverage for former foster youth who have aged out of the system and are under the age of 26.

Florida officials say roughly 10,000 former foster youth are eligible. But they aren't automatically enrolled and need to apply for coverage. The provision is aimed at giving former foster youth the same opportunity for health insurance as their peers who are able to stay on their parent's insurance until they turn 26.

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Health News Florida
10:44 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Focus on Floridians Caught in Gap

With 800,000 uninsured Floridians stuck in the “coverage gap” - too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act - the focus is turning on what can be done to help. 

The Florida Legislature turned down the option of accepting $51 billion in federal funds that would have provided them health coverage last year. With only one week left in this year's session, those in the gap - 20 percent of Florida’s uninsured - will most likely be left hanging.

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Health News Florida
9:36 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Publix, Sea World Want ACA Change

Three powerful Central Florida companies back legislation to increase the number of hours an employee must work to qualify for employer-provided health care. 

Health News Florida
10:06 am
Tue April 15, 2014

ACA Spending Below Projections

The cost of the Affordable Care Act is about $5 billion a year less than originally projected, mostly because insurance premiums were lower than expected, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

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Health News Florida
10:18 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Mother of 3 in Medicaid 'Gap' Dies

While 7 million Americans enrolled for health insurance before the March 31 Affordable Care Act deadline,  Charlene Dill wasn’t one of them.

The young mother of three collapsed and died from a treatable heart condition on March 21. She fell into  Florida’s health care gap; her income from part-time commission-based jobs was just $9,000, too poor for Affordable Care Act subsidies, the Orlando Weekly magazine reports.

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Opinion
11:21 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Road-Weary ACA Here to Stay

The Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment deadline has passed, and the total exceeded expectations, despite a rocky start.
The bickering between the critics and the administration continues, according to an editorial in the Ocala Star-Banner, but the fact remains that millions of Americans who couldn’t get coverage before now have insurance because of the law.  The success is even more startling, considering how hard opponents in Florida worked to stand in the way of the ACA.  

HNF Stories
10:21 am
Fri April 11, 2014

FL Medicaid Enrollment Expands

Florida’s Republican lawmakers remain staunchly opposed to expanding Medicaid — a system they’ve repeatedly said is too expensive and doesn’t improve health outcomes. Yet Florida’s Medicaid rolls are expanding under the Affordable Care Act whether Florida likes it or not.

That’s because people trying to sign up for health insurance under President Obama’s new health law are finding out — to their surprise — that they qualify for Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor.

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Health News Florida
10:16 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Scott Denies ACA Ads Are False

Gov. Rick Scott is not backing down from a pair of campaign ads that state 300,000 Floridians lost their Florida Blue health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, the Miami Herald reports. The ads attack Scott’s presumed opponent, Charlie Crist, for his support of the federal health law, and use a claim about the Floridians losing insurance that was rated “Mostly False” by PolitiFact.

Health News Florida
11:02 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Crist Reaffirms Support for Obamacare

Former Republican Charlie Crist, now gunning for his old gubernatorial job as a Democrat, is reaffirming his support for the Affordable Care Act, the Naples Daily News reports. At a campaign stop Monday in Naples, Crist cited a PolitiFact ruling of “mostly false” on Gov.

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