Affordable Care Act

Health News Florida
11:28 am
Tue October 29, 2013

FL Blue's Cancellations Add to Anger

Florida Blue’s cancellation of 300,000 individual health-insurance policies in the state has led many to accuse President Obama of deliberately misleading the public when he said that if people liked their insurance policies, they could keep them, the Fiscal Times reports.

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HNF Stories
5:55 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

More Technical Issues For Obamacare, But Good News For Medicare

Gone is the smiling young woman who used to grace HealthCare.gov. Now it's time to get down to work.
www.HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:02 pm

Monday was yet another troubled day for the Affordable Care Act.

Sunday night, the outside vendor that operates two key parts of the website that lets people browse and sign up for health insurance experienced a failure.

The failure took place at a vendor called Verizon Terremark and presumably affected other clients as well as HealthCare.gov, the federal website that people use to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

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HNF Stories
11:48 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Spanish Language Marketplace Site Up, But Not Running

This is a screenshot of the Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov.
CuidadoDeSalud.gov

Some Florida Latinos are waiting on the Affordable Care Act’s Spanish language website to become available so they can sign up for coverage. 

The Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, was supposed to be up and running this past Monday, but instead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is directing users to its Spanish call center.

Altamonte Springs resident Miriam Lopez said she heard it’s better to apply online, so she’s been reluctant to enroll by phone.

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Health News Florida
11:54 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Obamacare Deadline Clarified

Federal health officials have clarified the deadline people must meet under the individual mandate to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the Washington Post reports. Open enrollment on the new health insurance Marketplace runs through March 31, and so long as people buy a health plan by then, they won’t face a tax penalty for not having health insurance. It often takes a little time for coverage to kick in once someone enrolls in a plan. 

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HNF Stories
10:40 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Putting a Face on 'The Forgotten'

Star Bocsi is an immigration lawyer in solo practice. She doesn't make enough money to qualify for tax subsidies that would help her buy a health insurance plan.
Credit Carol Gentry / WUSF

While most of the uninsured will be able to get subsidized health coverage Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act, the poorest adults under 65 will be out of luck in many states, including Florida. 

    

You could call them “The Forgotten.”  Many are women in their 50s and 60s, too old to have children still at home so they can’t qualify for Medicaid. But they’re not yet 65 so they don’t qualify for Medicare, either.

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HNF Stories
6:46 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Senator Wants Someone Fired for Botched Health Insurance Website

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 4:55 pm

Florida’s U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for someone’s head amidst the finger-pointing in Washington over the failure of the online health insurance marketplace that was supposed to launch the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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HNF Stories
9:20 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Florida Health Policy Expert On The Disappointing Rollout Of Healthcare.gov

President Obama addresses supporters in the White House Rose Garden Monday, Oct. 21, on the problems with Healthcare.gov.

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:35 pm

Federal contractors now say they’ve identified most of the main problems crippling Healthcare.gov, the main site of the online health insurance marketplace set up under Obamacare.

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Opinion
12:07 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Let's Drop Medicaid Stereotypes

Gary J. Stein

Gary Stein of Tampa, retired public health professional turned advocate for health reform, has written a column about the unfortunate stereotypes that some doctors (and others, including politicians) have about Medicaid patients.

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Health News Florida
11:24 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Some Darden Employees Lose Insurance

About 1,000 people who work for Darden Restaurants, which operates restaurants including Red Lobster and Olive Garden, are losing access to company health insurance in 2014, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The Orlando-based chain says those employees didn’t work enough hours -- 30 or more a week -- to be eligible for health insurance, but the chain had allowed them to stay on their health insurance plan anyway.

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HNF Stories
3:42 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Obamacare-FL at a Glance

To keep you from having to search for it in the river of news, we're putting some basic information on the Affordable Care Act as it pertains to Florida in a prominent place at our home page, HealthNewsFlorida.org

All of our Affordable Care Act coverage can also be found here, with the latest posts at the top.

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HNF Stories
12:36 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Obama: 'Nobody's Madder Than Me'

President Obama

President Barack Obama said Monday that "nobody's madder than me" about the problems infesting Healthcare.gov, the enrollment website for plans through the Affordable Care Act.

But he added with a chuckle, "That means it's going to get fixed."

In the meantime, he said, Americans can pick up the phone. There are operators waiting to walk Americans through the sign-up process at the Health Insurance Marketplace's toll-free line, 800-318-2596.

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Opinion
11:32 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Shut It Down, Fix It, Test It

Joe Paduda

Joe Paduda, a consultant to many Florida employers on workers' compensation, writes at his blog Managed Care Matters that the Health Insurance Marketplace needs to be closed until it is really ready.

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Health News Florida
10:51 am
Mon October 21, 2013

FL Blue Cancels 300,000 Policies

(UPDATE) Florida Blue, the newly adopted brand for the former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, is canceling 80 percent of its current individual policies because they don't jibe with the requirements under the Affordable Care Act that go into effect Jan. 1. The number affected is estimated to be 300,000.

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Health News Florida
11:16 am
Fri October 18, 2013

FL Seeks Federal Charity-Care $$

Months after Florida House Republican leaders rejected federal money to expand health coverage for the low-income uninsured, a state agency will ask them to request money under a different Medicaid bucket to give to hospitals for charity care. 

This bucket, called the “Low Income Pool,” would be expanded from $1.4 billion a year to about $3 billion under the Agency for Health Care Administration’s proposal.

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Health News Florida
11:31 am
Thu October 17, 2013

More to Qualify for Medicaid Soon

Some low-income Floridians who can't get Medicaid coverage now will qualify for it after Jan. 1, under new Medicaid eligibility guidelines that apply nationwide.

Savings accounts, a car and child support will no longer count against eligibility, which should make it easier for low-income parents to qualify, according to an account in the Orlando Sentinel.

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Health News Florida
10:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Govt. Re-opens; 17 FL Yes, 11 No

Rep. Daniel Webster, R-FL

U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster was a reluctant yes and Rep. Steve Southerland was a defiant no as 17 Florida members of Congress voted to re-open the federal government and raise the debt limit on Wednesday, and 11 said no.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was one of the "no" votes when the Senate took action in late afternoon. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, voted yes with the majority.

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Health News Florida
8:29 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Too Poor for Subsidies: 763,000

The strange result of the Florida House's decision not to expand Medicaid is that there are 763,890  Floridians whose incomes are too low to receive subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

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Opinion
11:59 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Will Medicaid Expansion Be Factor in Today's Election?

Gary J. Stein

Pasco County is heavily Republican, judging by the party of almost all its officeholders and the fact that it went for Mitt Romney by 7 points. But in today's election a Democrat has at least a decent chance of winning the state House District 36 seat being vacated by Republican Mike Fasano.

Fasano was appointed as tax collector when the man who held that office died, leaving his seat up for grabs in a special election. (Editor's note: An incorrect office was listed in an earlier version.)

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Health News Florida
11:41 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Young Adults Urged to Opt Out

Generation Opportunity, which aims to undermine the Affordable Care Act, has launched a nationwide tour of college campuses that will include the University of Miami. Its young staff aims to talk 18-to-29-year-olds out of enrolling in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace.

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Health News Florida
11:30 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Uninsured Wonder: Can I Afford It?

As the Miami Herald and Kaiser Health News report, uninsured Floridians have different views on the Affordable Care Act but share a common concern: cost of coverage. One 28-year-old real estate agent, who says he doesn’t see the need for health insurance, says he’ll need to check in with his accountant to see if paying a penalty for not buying insurance makes financial sense.

Opinion
2:00 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

A Business Case for Expanding Medicaid

John Petrila, J.D., at USF

John Petrila, professor at University of South Florida's College of Public Health, writes in a column published by the Tampa Tribune that there is a very good reason why the Florida Chamber of Commerce and other groups are asking the Florida Legislature to accept the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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HNF Stories
11:59 am
Thu October 10, 2013

HealthCare.gov: Waiting, Hoping

Maggie Banta has been trying to log on to HealthCare.gov for days.
Lottie Watts WUSF

Florida's online health insurance Marketplace has been open for business since Oct. 1. But more than a week later, people are still having trouble with HealthCare.gov, the website consumers use to shop for health plans. 

Maggie Banta of St. Petersburg is one of millions of visitors to the site since it opened for business a little more than a week ago. She’s been trying to log on for days, but like many others, she can’t.

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Health News Florida
11:31 am
Thu October 10, 2013

How Can I Buy With No $?

Floridians continue to ask questions about the Affordable Care Act's major provisions, which are unfolding between now and the end of March. Even though most people aren't affected by this rollout because they're already insured or have Medicare, the questions can be fun to read.

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HNF Stories
5:03 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Feds Holding Billions of $ for FL

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has become the Obama administration's envoy to Florida on behalf of the Affordable Care Act. She has visited the state half a dozen times since June, trying to get the word out to the state's millions of uninsured to sign up for a health plan.

This week she visited the University of South Florida's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, where Health News Florida editor Carol Gentry spoke with her.

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Opinion
9:22 am
Wed October 9, 2013

'Petulance, Pettiness, and Pique'

Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Miami Herald, unfurls some of his colorful phrases to say just what he thinks of the "right wing of the right wing" of the Republican Party is holding the nation's economy in crisis in a childish tantrum over the Affordable Care Act.

Here's a sample:

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HNF Stories
12:45 am
Wed October 9, 2013

'Working Around the Clock'

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who swooped into Tampa for a 90-minute visit on Tuesday, said "today is better than yesterday" for the still-balky Health Insurance Marketplace. Each day the online enrollment site, HealthCare.gov, will work better than the day before, she said.

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HNF Stories
9:57 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Sebelius to Visit Tampa Amid Obamacare Web Delays

The Obama administration promised "significant improvements" in accessing the federal health overhaul website this week, after taking down the system for maintenance over the weekend. But many in Florida were still unable to enroll at the start of week two. 

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Health News Florida
11:07 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Can Software Bugs Be Squashed?

The White House is still blaming the overwhelming turnout for the difficulties millions of Americans encountered when they tried to enroll in the health-plan Marketplace after its rollout last Tuesday. But a tech expert interviewed by the Washington Post said that’s only one of the two problems; the other is bugs in the software that there weren’t time to fix before launch. 

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Health News Florida
11:03 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Shutdown Over ACA Was Planned

U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-FL

Unbeknownst to the public, the current government shutdown was planned in February, right after President Obama was sworn in for his second term, the New York Times reports. That planning meeting was organized by Edwin Meese III, a Reagan administration official who resigned following a Defense Department scandal called Wedtech.

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Health News Florida
11:38 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Some Floridians Getting Enrolled

Floridians have enrolled in health insurance plans offered by Cigna using the new online insurance Marketplace, the Washington Post reports.

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