Affordable Care Act

HNF Stories
10:39 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Let Insurers Enroll, Senators Say

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

Commercial health insurers could be an alternative to the balky  Healthcare.gov if the White House grants a request from eight Democratic senators, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.  If the wish is granted, it could mean a huge influx of new customers for Florida Blue.

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Health News Florida
6:39 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Next Speaker Says No to Medicaid

Rep. Steve Crisafulli

State Rep. Steve Crisafulli, in line to become Florida House Speaker in 2014,  says he will do the same thing that current Speaker Will Weatherford did: block Medicaid expansion.

And just like Weatherford, Crisafulli says he will refuse to accept the federal funds that have been earmarked for Florida over the next decade, News Service of Florida reports.

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Health News Florida
1:07 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Part-Time Workers With Minimal Health Coverage Get New Options

But maybe not the insurance.
Karl Dolenc iStockphoto

In January, part-time workers who have so-called mini-med health insurance plans with very limited benefits and annual caps on payments will begin to lose that coverage.

Under the health care overhaul, they can't be renewed after the beginning of the year. For some, that may be just as well. Part-timers likely will have better options in January.

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Health News Florida
11:33 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Navigators Bridge Language, Cultural Gaps

Licensed navigators and certified application counselors are facing additional challenges as they help Florida’s Hispanic population sign up for health insurance on the new exchanges, the Tampa Tribune reports. About a half-million people are being targeted by Hispanic Health Initiatives, which does outreach in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties.

Health News Florida
10:45 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Competing for Medicare Enrollees: White Gloves On

While most healthcare facilities come across as clinically sterile, a facility in Miami has uniformed doormen, replete with white gloves, escorting patients into a lobby resembling a luxury hotel, where patients are offered refreshments while waiting to see the doctor.  As the Miami Herald reports, this approach sets Leon Medical Centers’ Healthy Living Facility apart from others in the managed-care Medicare world (paywall alert).   

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HNF Stories
5:01 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

White House Pushes Next Year's Health Plan Sign-Ups Later

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 6:32 pm

Another day brings another delay for the federal health law known as the Affordable Care Act.

On Friday, the Obama administration announced that, starting next year, it is pushing back the start of the sign-up period for those buying individual and small business insurance until mid-November, rather than mid-October. That will give insurance companies some extra time to set their premiums, given this year's difficulties.

And, as some analysts point out, the delay may also ease some political concerns for Democrats.

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Health News Florida
10:52 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Most Cancelled Policyholders Could Get Subsidies: Report

Most Americans who hold individual health policies that don’t meet requirements under the Affordable Care Act for 2014 could get better plans with subsidies through the Health Insurance Marketplace, according to a consumer group.

About two-thirds of Floridians who hold such policies have incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty level, the report from Families USA says. That means that if and when they check Healthcare.gov, they’ll find they qualify for tax credits that bring down the premium cost.

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HNF Stories
7:43 am
Fri November 22, 2013

FL Seen as Unlikely to Expand Coverage to Poor in 2014

Alan Levine

Consumer groups, hospitals and insurers are clamoring for Florida to take the $51 billion in federal funds that have been offered to the state over the next decade to provide health coverage to the working poor. But those who are tuned in politically --  even those who desperately want it to happen -- say it’s very unlikely in 2014.

“I think the right decision financially and morally is for Florida to take the money,”  Alan Levine, a Naples hospital executive and Republican insider, told reporters Thursday.  “But I would say (the chances) are very low, less than 30 percent.”

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HNF Stories
11:34 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Why They Rolled Out Website Despite Warnings

By the time U.S. Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius arrived at North Shore Medical Center in Miami on Tuesday, Jacquie Basha had already been there for a couple of hours on her quest for health insurance that began seven weeks ago. 

Over a long period of daily attempts with the web site, she had opened an account, shopped for a policy and gotten a price. Finally, with the help of health care navigators on duty for the Sebelius visit, Basha got her health insurance. 

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HNF Stories
10:42 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Public Health Students Test Healthcare.gov

Students in John Petrila's undergraduate health policy class tried to log on to Healthcare.gov, but no one got very far.
Lottie Watts WUSF

John Petrila's health policy class at the University of South Florida is full of undergraduate students glued to their smartphones, tablets and laptops. A perfect place, he reasoned, to test the Healthcare.gov website. 

“These folks are savvy. Every person in here is a tech savvy person whose used to being online,” Petrila said. “No one's in here thinking, ‘Well, what's the Internet?’ If these folks can't navigate this website, then that's a serious problem."

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HNF Stories
9:28 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Florida Matters: Medicaid Expansion Town Hall

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 9:25 am

Florida has rejected an offer of more than $50 billion over 10 years from the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. So the question remains: how will health care be funded for more than a million low-income Floridians? This week on Florida Matters,  a panel discussion that was held last week at Stetson University College of Law to discuss the options.

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Health News Florida
6:20 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Sebelius Doing Damage Control in FL

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday that eight of 10 people will be able to use the government's health care website to sign up for insurance by the end of the month. 

The Obama administration's top health care official was at Florida Technical College in Orlando Tuesday morning making her first of two stops in the state to talk up the Affordable Care Act as fallout of the new law grows. She was visiting Miami's North Shore Medical Center later in the day.

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Health News Florida
11:38 am
Fri November 15, 2013

FL Blue Reinstating Policies

Florida Blue, the largest health insurer in the state, says it will reinstate 300,000 policies it was planning to cancel, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. Bowing to pressure, on Thursday President Barack Obama announced that individual policyholders who saw their insurance policies cancelled because they didn’t meet the standards under the Affordable Care Act could in fact keep their policies if the company was willing to offer them.

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Health News Florida
11:32 am
Fri November 15, 2013

FL Faces Decision on Medicaid Pay

A temporary raise in Medicaid pay for primary care physicians -- part of the Affordable Care Act that covered 2013 and 2014 -- will end in 2015, which leaves Florida’s legislature in a predicament.  As the News Service of Florida reports, lawmakers have to decide whether to let the pay raise run out, leaving both doctors and patients in the lurch, or let state taxpayers pick up the bill. The Florida Medical Association has started lobbying to ha

Health News Florida
11:00 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Florida to Follow Affordable Care Act Transitional Plan

Florida's insurance commissioner says the state will follow President Barack Obama's new transitional plan to keep health insurance coverage for Floridians.

Commissioner Kevin McCarty said in a prepared statement Thursday that most health insurers in Florida have already voluntarily extended coverage for affected policyholders through 2014. But for any companies that didn't, his office pledges to work with any company that chooses to continue coverage in accordance with the Obama's transitional policy.

Health News Florida
11:32 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Relief Coming on Canceled Plans

President Obama

Saying "I get it -- I understand how upsetting it can be,"President Obama said today he will help Americans who have received notice that their individual policies are being canceled because they don't comply with the Affordable Care Act. 

(See live coverage here.)

He said he would allow insurers to extend policies that fail to meet the health law's requirements for 2014.

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Health News Florida
10:29 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Pleas Resume for State to Take $51B

From one end of Florida to the other, calls for Florida House leaders to accept $51 billion in Affordable Care Act funds to expand Medicaid to cover the state's low-income uninsured were renewed on Wednesday. Even Gov. Scott started flirting with Obamacare again. But the man who said no to the money before -- House Speaker Will Weatherford -- is still saying no.

Here's a quick look at the action:

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Health News Florida
9:31 am
Thu November 14, 2013

3,500 in FL Persevered

About 3,500 Floridians selected a health plan for 2014 on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace last month, only a tiny fraction of the 3.8 million uninsured in the state, new data show. But that was expected, since the the balky Healthcare.gov website crashed on launch and has worked only intermittently.

Nationwide, 106,000 were reportedly enrolled in the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace, all but 27,000 of them through state-sponsored exchanges.

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Health News Florida
12:03 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Debate Revived

State Rep. Mark Pafford, the incoming leader of Florida House Democrats, says he will continue to press the issue of Medicaid expansion during the upcoming legislative session, the Florida Current reports. Republicans in the Florida House blocked  Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act during the 2013 session.

Opinion
11:44 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Mental Health Poised for New Day

Paul Gionfriddo

In many ways, our society still treats people with mental illnesses the way it did 100 years ago -- locking them up. But their future may  be better, writes Lake Worth-based health policy consultant Paul Gionfriddo.

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Opinion
11:39 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Will Weatherford's 'Feckless' Politics

Wayne Ezell

Columnist Wayne Ezell of the Florida Times-Union excoriates the Florida House Speaker for placing politics -- opposition to anything President Obama supports -- above the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of the poorest Floridians.

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Health News Florida
10:49 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Politics Holds Up Compounding Bill

Remember the New England Compounding Center, which sent out contaminated  pain injections that killed 64 people, including some in Florida? More than a year after that debacle, a bill  that nearly everyone in Congress supports is being held up by an opponent of the Affordable Care Act.

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Opinion
8:53 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

'Prosperity' Group's Claims Mostly False

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group founded by industrialists David and Charles Koch, has been running ads against the Affordable Care Act intended to wound Democrats as the midterm election campaign for 2014 heats up.

PolitiFact examined claims in four of the group's recent ads, and found them wanting: One false, two mostly false, and one half-true.

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Health News Florida
11:59 am
Thu November 7, 2013

State Drops Subpoena Against WFSU

This group was the subject of Hatter's story.
Credit Lynn Hatter, WFSU

UPDATE--Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has withdrawn the subpoena against WFSU after it caused an uproar, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

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Health News Florida
11:01 am
Thu November 7, 2013

'Burn Their Fingers, Make Them Pay'

FL Sen. Bill Nelson

Florida's U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday he wants the Obama administration to hold the contractors accountable --"burn their fingers, make them pay" -- for the disastrous launch of Healthcare.gov.

That's the online sign-up site for the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act. It has worked only intermittently since its launch Oct. 1.

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Health News Florida
9:21 am
Thu November 7, 2013

FL Health Centers Awarded $8.3M

Sixteen community health centers in Florida will share more than $8.3 million in new grants -- enough to care for about 73,000 new patients -- from the Affordable Care Act, federal health officials announced today. 

More than half of the grants are for amounts exceeding $500,000.

The Florida awards are part of a nationwide package of $150 million in "New Access Point" grants to 236 centers. They were announced by officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

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Opinion
11:36 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Failure: War on Drugs

At his site Our Health Policy Matters, health consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes that he’s as sick of the Obamacare drama as anyone. So, this week, he said he’d opine about something not so contentious: the nation’s failed “War on Drugs.” 

Health News Florida
9:13 am
Tue November 5, 2013

1.6M in Florida Eligible for Health Insurance Tax Credits

Around 17 million Americans, including almost 1.6 million Floridians, qualify for subsidized premiums for 2014 on the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. (The subsidies are actually tax credits taken upfront, at the point of purchase.) 

Meanwhile, a separate study from McKinsey & Co. shows that 20 to 25 percent of uninsured Floridians should be eligible for a plan with no premium, after discounts are taken. Nationally, the study estimates that 6 to 7 million could qualify for zero-premium bronze plans.

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Opinion
11:55 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Health Insurance Isn't the Solution, It's the Problem

David Mokotoff, M.D.

There's a company, Affordable Medical Imaging, that charges just $275 for an MRI, the same test for which a hospital charges thousands of dollars. The difference? The medical imaging company doesn't accept health insurance. No forms, paperwork or hassles.

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Opinion
11:36 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Group Wants 'Prosperity' -- for Themselves

Gary Stein

Gary Stein, a former public health professional turned consumer advocate, says he attended a recent "town hall" meeting in Tampa sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. He said the meeting was aimed at spreading confusion about the Affordable Care Act and advancing the agenda of the Koch Brothers, far-right opponents of health reform and funders of the sponsoring group.

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