As Chan Lowe with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes, it’s just a matter of time before the fight against the Affordable Care Act will die. As Lowe writes, it happened with Social Security and Medicare, once folks started to benefit from those programs. Lowe predicts that same thing will happen with the federal health law better known as Obamacare.
An unintended coverage gap in the Affordable Care Act will leave nearly 1 million low-income Floridians unable to obtain health insurance when the federal Marketplace opens Oct. 1, according to consumer group Families USA. The gap was created when the Florida House refused to accept federal funds for Medicaid expansion -- a decision left up to the states by the Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2012.
Anita Balch is a nurse, so everyone asks her about the Marketplace and other key features of the Affordable Care Act that are coming on line between now and Jan. 1. But she’s just as confused as everyone else, she says, because of the five-year political fight that Republicans have waged against Obamacare.
With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.
We can't answer every question we get. But here is a sampling of questions that were really popular, or that would apply to a lot of people.
Floridians who will be shopping for health insurance on the new online marketplace might not know what companies they can choose from until the exchanges officially open on Oct. 1, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation says it will sign off on the companies by the time the exchanges go online, but it likely won’t be sooner.
The Tampa Bay Times' lead editorial on Friday says Gov. Rick Scott is hurting Florida families by pretending to be on their side but actually undermining their access to health insurance -- and information about where to get it.
Pinellas County officials say the state Department of Health has agreed that Affordable Care Act enrollment advisors can operate within the same buildings as the local health department staff.
And DOH staff can refer uninsured patients to the advisors, called Navigators, for help in enrolling in a health plan on the Marketplace when it opens Oct. 1.
"What the state said was that we could not hire Navigators, but that we could refer people to county offices within our buildings," said DOH/Pinellas spokeswoman Maggie Hall. She said it amounts to a "compromise."
Pinellas County government officials suffered a blow Wednesday when they learned about the state Department of Health's order barring enrollment Navigators from local health department property.
The Navigators are supposed to fill a key role in carrying out the Affordable Care Act by helping uninsured people enroll in health plans that are to be offered through an online Marketplace, which is to open Oct. 1.
At his blog Our Health Policy Matters, health consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes that public officials often use suicide data as a proxy for the seriousness of mental health problems. But those rates really don’t give a good picture, he argues, since there are people who have mental illness who don’t commit suicide, or don't succeed.
Florida's uninsured citizens, who are relying on the federal government to create and manage an online health-insurance shopping site called the "Marketplace," can relax a little, after months of hearing that the project won't be ready in time for the grand opening Oct. 1.
The Florida Department of Health has become the latest arm of state government to distance itself from the federal Affordable Care Act. It has ordered county health units not to allow outreach workers called Navigators onto their property to help uninsured people sign up for subsidized health coverage.
Florida is one of the states that will see an ad blitz promoting the online Marketplace, with just over three weeks to go until the federal shopping site for the uninsured is due to open. The Obama administration plans to spend more than $12 million on the ad buy in states led by Republican governors and lawmakers who have been hostile to the Affordable Care Act.
The editorial board of the New York Times wasn't shy in expressing an opinion about officeholders in Texas and Florida. The editorial said they should be hanging their heads in shame for turning their backs on millions of poor people who could have gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Instead, they're trying to sabotage the health-reform effort every way possible.
Eight groups that are hiring and training "navigators" to help uninsured Floridians enroll in Obamacare have been sent letters by a U.S. House committee seeking information on their activities -- a letter that some have called "intimidating."
Two of the groups are public entities: University of South Florida and Pinellas County Board of Commissioners.
Two others are non-government groups based in Florida: Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County Inc. and Epilepsy Foundation of Florida.
Florida’s uninsured citizens -- at least the ones who have heard about the health-insurance “Marketplace” scheduled to open Oct. 1 -- aren’t the only ones eager to see how it works. The same is true of insurers in the individual market who have to participate, despite their worries, for fear they will lose market share if they don’t.
On his blog Our Health Policy Matters, health consultant Paul Gionfriddo says that members of Congress who took time during their vacation to demand more information about health insurance navigators have bigger issues to worry about. The navigator contracts, Gionfriddo writes, are minuscule compared to defense service contracts that lawmakers aren’t scrutinizing.
SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Tampa will drop their “mini-med” plans for seasonal and part-time workers come Jan. 1, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Only a small fraction of employees are enrolled in the extremely limited benefit plans, which don’t meet the standards set by the Affordable Care Act for health insurance plans.
In your Aug. 30 article, “No Rate Increase, Study Predicts,” you appear to have reached your conclusion simply by oversimplifying. The RAND study you quote states the following:
“In analyses that held age, actuarial value, and tobacco use constant, we estimated that, for five of the ten states we examined (Florida, Kansas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas), and for the United States overall, the law causes no change in premiums.”
Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach announced Thursday it was laying off 39 employees, trimming benefits and taking other actions to reduce expenses by $10 million, according to a memo from top hospital officials obtained by Health News Florida.
“We must become more efficient,” stated the memo, from President and CEO Jeffrey L. Susi and Dan Janicak, chief financial and operating officer.
According to PolitiFact, the IRS is not the main enforcer of the Affordable Care Act, as the National Republican Congressional Committee claimed in a recent video. Health policy experts note the IRS will deal with subsidies and penalties, but other agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor, play a large role in ACA enforcement.
Florida has the second-highest rate of uninsured adults under 65 in the nation, second only to Texas, the Naples Daily News reports. U.S. Census figures from 2011 show nearly 25 percent of Floridians under 65 don’t have health insurance -- a total of about 3.8 million residents, the Miami Herald reports.
Contradicting Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, a study from the RAND Corporation reports that the Affordable Care Act is unlikely to cause a hike in premiums for the individual market in this state or nationally.
Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:26 pm
The Obama administration said Wednesday that it is moving ahead with a rule that would requiring health plans to accommodate households that don't have traditional bank accounts.
One in four of the uninsured people eligible for federal insurance subsidies doesn't have a bank account, according to a report released earlier this year by the tax preparation firm Jackson Hewitt. The report dubbed people without connections to traditional financial institutions the "unbanked."
Michigan, which like Florida has a Republican governor and legislative majority, has voted to accept federal funds and expand its Medicaid program to the low-income uninsured. It is yet another GOP-dominated state that has done what Florida did not.
More than 1 million low-income uninsured in Florida are spared from paying any penalty for not having health coverage under the Affordable Care Act as of Jan. 1, according to the rules issued this week by the Obama administration.
Florida is facing a challenge: With the start of the health-insurance enrollment period less than five weeks away, paid “navigators” and volunteers are still unsure how they will find and sign up millions who qualify for and need coverage. State officials have not helped, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
Some of the large employers in Florida’s tourism and retail industries could get away with providing very cheap coverage -- so “skinny” it doesn’t even cover a hospital stay -- under one interpretation of the administration’s rules on the Affordable Care Act Rules, Kaiser Health News reports.