Affordable Care Act

Consumer
8:50 am
Mon March 3, 2014

ACA Signup: 28 Days and Counting

Sick of hearing about the health care law?

Plenty of people have tuned out after all the political jabber and website woes.

But now is the time to tune back in, before it’s too late.

The big deadline is coming March 31.

By that day, for the first time, nearly everyone in the United States is required to be signed up for health insurance or risk paying a fine.

Here’s what you need to know about this month’s open enrollment countdown:

ALREADY COVERED? NO WORRIES

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HNF Stories
10:51 am
Fri February 28, 2014

'Moral Monday,' Other Events Loom

An enrollment event in January at Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa.
Tom Carlock

With just one month left before the deadline to sign up for a 2014 health plan, enrollment events are popping up all over the state.  Health Care for Florida Now, an advocacy group for health-care access, has pulled together an events calendar to help.

Monday's listing is topped by "Moral Monday," described as a mass rally at the Capitol in Tallahassee organized by groups seeking "social justice." They include the NAACP and a number of clergy from both  black and white churches.

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Health News Florida
9:42 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Health Law Delays Questioned

The latest delays in implementing the Affordable Care Act are prompting critics to challenge the Obama administration’s legal authority to tweak the law, the Miami Herald reports.

The latest deadline extension, delaying the date for certain employers to offer health benefits to full-time workers, led some Republicans and conservative groups to say it’s a political ploy related to the critical mid-term elections.

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Health News Florida
9:15 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Is FL a Risk to Healthcare.gov?

The Associated Press

Security experts working for the federal government last fall said two-thirds of state computer systems that were supposed to tap into federal computers to verify personal information for coverage were rated as "high risk" for security problems, the Associated Press reports.

According to a map from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Florida was one of the states the security experts identified as having a risky connection point.

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HNF Stories
7:24 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Share Your Obamacare Questions

Linda Fleming, an attorney with Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, will be helping us answer the questions you still have about the Affordable Care Act.
Lottie Watts WUSF

As the deadline for getting health insurance nears, you might have some questions about how the Affordable Care Act affects you.

Well, here's your chance to ask.

We want to help sort out all of these changes resulting triggered by Obamacare, especially the looming March 31 deadline that nearly all Americans get coverage.

On an upcoming episode of Florida Matters on WUSF, we will ask a panel of experts to give practical answers to the questions important to you and your family.

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Health News Florida
11:27 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Immigrants, Not Poor, Get Help

Because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision and Florida’s anti-Obamacare politics, legal immigrants will qualify for subsidies on health plans in this state even as citizens under the poverty level get turned away. 

As The Associated Press reports from Miami, many low-income uninsured are baffled that they don’t qualify for a tax credit.

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Health News Florida
11:26 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Door-to-Door Enrollment a Flop?

Tammie Spencer with Enroll America
Credit Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health News

The “Get Covered, America” enrollment effort that mimics the Obama campaign method of door-knocking is proving labor-intensive and mostly ineffective, the New York Times

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Opinion
11:59 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

Attack Ad on Obamacare Misleading

A TV commercial running in the Tampa Bay area on the Congressional special election campaign for David Jolly, the Republican, tries to wound Democrat Alex Sink by saying she supports "Obamacare" and mentions several negative things about the health law.

Trouble is, as PolitiFact reports, the claims made in the ad are either misleading or wholly out of context. Of three claims made in the ad, two were ruled only "half true" and the other "mostly false."

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Health News Florida
11:15 am
Thu February 13, 2014

In Miami, Biden Touts ACA

Vice President Joe Biden gets a hug from Annie Neasman, president of the Jessie Trice Community Health Center, in Miami.
Credit AP

On his way to a fundraiser for congressional candidate Alex Sink, Vice President Joe Biden met with regular folks at a popular Miami drugstore-diner on Wednesday, according to the Miami Herald

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HNF Stories
1:25 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Enrollment Surges in FL

Avalere Health, a consulting company, rates Florida as one of just 15 states closing in on projected enrollment for 2014.
Credit Avalere Health

Despite state officials' opposition to the Affordable Care Act and the relative scarcity of helpers available,  Floridians are finding their way to Healthcare.gov and signing up for plans even beyond the growth in most states.

By the end of January, nearly 300,000 Floridians had enrolled in a new health plan through Obamacare -- a surge that left most other states in the dust.

Jodi Ray at University of South Florida, who leads the grant-driven effort to sign up the uninsured in most counties of Florida, said she's not in the least surprised.

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HNF Stories
11:25 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Some Republicans Love Obamacare

Irene Jacusis of New Port Richey, who is thankful to be insured.
Credit Carol Gentry/HNF-WUSF

By now, the Republican Party’s view of the Affordable Care Act should be pretty familiar, as in this ad from David Jolly:

“I’m fighting to repeal Obamacare, right away. It’s bad for our families, and our economy.”

But not all Republicans agree; one is Irene Jacusis of New Port Richey, who was uninsured until now.

“I did not vote for Obama," she said. "But I am so in love with this plan, with this health care plan, what can I do?"

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Opinion
10:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

It's Hard to Say How Many Will Die in Medicaid Fight

PolitiFact Florida recently tackled the politically sticky and academically difficult question of whether people will die sooner than they should because the state refuses to expand Medicaid to those with incomes under the poverty level. The short answer is yes, probably some will, but it's hard to know precisely how many.

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Opinion
10:35 am
Fri February 7, 2014

No Job Loss From ObamaCare

The Congressional Budget Office put out a forecast this week that showed the Affordable Care Act will have a positive effect on the labor market, that it will enable 2.3 million Americans to either finally retire or cut their hours. They are no longer trapped in jobs they hate in order to keep health insurance.

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Opinion
10:15 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Who Dies Without Medicaid?

Amid the ongoing Medicaid expansion debate, health consultant Paul Gionfriddo points to several studies that say thousands nationwide could die prematurely if Medicaid is not expanded. At his blog Our Health Policy Matters, Gionfriddo writes that lawmakers should not ignore the compelling data indicating the life and death impacts of health coverage through Medicaid.

HNF Stories
9:21 am
Wed February 5, 2014

FMA to Tackle Medicaid Expansion

Dr. Aaron Elkin

The Florida Medical Association, one of Tallahassee’s most influential lobby groups, sat out last year’s legislative nail-biter over Medicaid expansion, saving its firepower for pocketbook issues, such as making it harder for patients to sue and keeping non-physicians off their turf.

But now an FMA advisory committee that studied the issue is backing Medicaid expansion, which would bring in federal funds to cover the low-income uninsured, according to two doctors who have seen the documents.  A resolution from that committee goes to the FMA Board of Governors later this week.

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Health News Florida
10:32 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Home Health Ban in Broward Too

Federal officials are lengthening a temporary moratorium on new home health care agencies in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, and have also included Broward County in the ban. As the Miami Herald reports, the six-month ban that starts today is an attempt to deter Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Federal health officials say Miami-Dade has the highest ratio of home health agencies to Medicare beneficiaries and has the biggest payments.

HNF Stories
11:38 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Pirates, Beads and Health Insurance

Laura Ottaviano works full-time as an in-person assister.
Lottie Watts WUSF

Gasparilla is Tampa's version of Mardi Gras -- at least when it comes to the beads, the parade and the partying.

During last weekend's pirate invasion, as people walked around in their best pirate costumes, contractors for the federal government were trying to pitch health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

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Health News Florida
11:23 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Once Skeptical of ACA, No More

Melinda West (L) and husband Martin with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Credit Office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

One of the invited guests watching the State of the Union message from the House gallery Tuesday night as a guest of the Democrats was a Republican businessman from South Florida.

Martin West served as the perfect example of what President Barack Obama hopes will turn into an army -- skeptics about the Affordable Care Act who turn into fans once they check it out, as the Orlando Sentinel reports.

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Opinion
9:43 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Poorest Fare Worst for Subsidies

In the wake of President Obama’s State of the Union speech, which highlighted income inequality, health consultant Paul Gionfriddo points out there’s another pressing inequity: health insurance subsidies for some of the poorest Americans.

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Opinion
10:35 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Legislature Not Family Friendly

The state’s legal stance on gay marriage and Medicaid are not family friendly, say opinion columns from the Tampa Bay Times and Orlando Sentinel.

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Health News Florida
10:23 am
Thu January 23, 2014

'No' on Expansion Costs Business

The decision by state lawmakers not to expand Medicaid could cost Florida businesses as much as $253 million a year in tax penalties, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Companies with 50 or more employees face Internal Revenue Service penalties if workers get subsidized health insurance through the new exchange under the Affordable Care Act. But they face no penalty if workers get subsidized coverage through Medicaid.

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HNF Stories
11:17 am
Wed January 22, 2014

FL Blue Acts When Story Airs

Merrie Beth Neely

Two Florida Blue customers who had been caught in a major glitch in the company’s enrollment process say they received help immediately after WUSF's Health News Florida reported on their problem.

The radio story, which aired Thursday in Tampa Bay on WUSF 89.7 FM during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," was picked up by most other Florida public radio stations the same day or later. Among the stations that aired it was WJCT in Jacksonville, the home base for Florida Blue.

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Opinion
10:07 am
Wed January 22, 2014

On Health Funding, Congress Disappoints -- Again

At his blog Our Health Policy Matters, consultant Paul Gionfriddo laments the proposal by Congress to cut $1 billion from what has already been promised for public health and prevention. After all the dust settled with the Affordable Care Act, the Prevention Fund that was supposed to contain $80 billion had only $15 billion -- and Congress keeps trying to cut more. 

Health News Florida
10:59 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Enrollment Ends ‘Nightmare’

Leslie Wyer, 60, says the health-insurance policy she bought through the Affordable Care Act is one of  the best Christmas presents she’s ever received. The Ormond Beach resident lost her insurance more than three years ago after her divorce, and she faces $175,000 in bills related to chronic Crohn’s disease.

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HNF Stories
10:33 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Glitch Hits FL Blue Enrollees

Merrie Beth Neely

Florida Blue may have bitten off more than it can chew with its new plans under the Affordable Care Act. The company's customer-service apparatus and computer system appear to be overwhelmed and unable to cope.

Already the state’s largest insurer, with more than 1 million covered lives, Florida Blue is offering 76 different health plans through the new federally operated Marketplace. In fact, the company lists more plans by itself than all other insurers put together.

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Opinion
11:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Debunking 'Fake Facts' on Obamacare

At his blog Our Health Policy Matters, consultant Paul Gionfriddo breaks down what he calls "fake facts" about the Affordable Care Act. Gionfriddo has a list of five things about Obamacare that are often repeated even though they're not true. 

HNF Stories
8:43 am
Fri January 10, 2014

State's Report Wrong, Navigator Says

Navigator Lynne Thorp

The chief navigator for Healthcare.gov plans for Southwest Florida says a state report on costs that Florida families have to pay for health insurance greatly overstates the premiums.

"Their numbers were very high," said Lynne Thorp, who at the request of Health News Florida ran the numbers on the first case that was presented to a legislative committee on Thursday. "I can't figure out where they got them."

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HNF Stories
12:42 am
Fri January 10, 2014

133,000 Waiting for Medicaid

The number of low-income Floridians waiting in computer limbo for their Medicaid card is far higher than previously thought, according to the Department of Children and Families.

Ninety thousand Florida Medicaid accounts that cover 133,000 people have been stuck in the federal Healthcare.gov data system for weeks pending transfer to the state, said Jennifer Lange, project director for the Medicaid Eligibility System Project at DCF.

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HNF Stories
11:57 am
Thu January 9, 2014

State Report on ACA Distorted?

A state report on the price of plans under the Affordable Care Act has been politically distorted to make things look worse than they are, a health advocacy group says.

The report by the Office of Insurance Regulation is to be presented to a House committee today  at 2:30 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to be streamed live on The Florida Channel.

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Consumer
4:30 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Legal Loopholes Leave Some Kids Without Dental Insurance

Kamora Cyprian got her teeth cleaned at a free health care event in the Los Angeles Sports Arena in September 2012.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:21 am

If you think buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has been complicated, just wait. Buying dental coverage on the health exchanges, it turns out, is even more confusing.

Dental coverage for children is one of the benefits that must be offered under the law. But, it turns out, a loophole in the law means that — in most states — families don't actually have to buy that coverage.

These rules are so confusing that they even tripped me up.

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