Affordable Care Act

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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Opinion
10:58 am
Wed January 8, 2014

What Does Medicaid Study Tell Us?

A study about the impact of the 2008 Oregon Medicaid expansion on hospital emergency department visits doesn’t actually tell us much about the Affordable Care Act, consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes at his website, Our Health Policy Matters. Gionfriddo details why he thinks the study is more history than news.

Health News Florida
11:03 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Glitch Hits 35K in FL Eligible for Medicaid

Credit healthcare.gov

About 35,000 Floridians who found they were eligible for health coverage through Medicaid are still waiting for confirmation that they’re covered, Kaiser Health News reports.

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Health News Florida
8:13 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Providing Health Care Complicated in Rural Areas

In this photo taken Dec. 17, 2013, Joe Manning sits in his office in De Funiak Springs, Fla. Manning is an outreach worker trained to sign people in rural Florida to participate in the Affordable Care Act.
Credit AP

FREEPORT  — In this rural part of the Panhandle, Christopher Mitchell finds few takers when he delivers his message about the importance of exploring insurance options under the federal health overhaul. 

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Health News Florida
9:24 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Marketing Targets Young Invincibles

MIAMI  - The so-called "young invincibles" are so important to the success of the Affordable Care Act that supporters and detractors are spending millions to reach them with racy ads, social media campaigns and celebrity endorsements.

The president is even (gasp) asking their mothers to help convince them to sign up for insurance.

The federal government and states running their own exchanges have launched marketing efforts for this crucial demographic of healthy young adults, but it's unclear if the messages are getting through.

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HNF Stories
7:00 am
Thu January 2, 2014

New Insurance Era Begins

Bo Frazer of Melbourne
Credit Florida Today

(UPDATED) Thousands of previously uninsured Floridians woke up Wednesday morning with peace of mind for the first time in years: They had a health insurance card, or at least the promise that one is in the mail.

They're the lucky ones who were able to get through the enrollment process in the federal Health Insurance Marketplace website, Healthcare.gov, by Christmas Eve.  Coverage through the exchange is one of the key parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that took effect Jan. 1.

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Health News Florida
10:27 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Which FL Lawmakers Took Subsidy?

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, has purchased a private health insurance plan and rejected a subsidy to buy coverage on the federal marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act.

Most lawmakers aren’t going the way of Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, who has purchased a private health insurance plan and rejected a subsidy to buy coverage on the federal marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act. 

As the Tampa Bay Times reports, the subsidy pays for up to 75 percent of premiums for members of Congress.  The perk became a target in the political fight over the implementation of the law.  

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HNF Stories
8:06 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Still Shopping For Insurance?

The deadline to buy health insurance for the New Year is approaching fast. 

If you’ve waited until now to start shopping on the federal health insurance exchange, know you may not have coverage starting Jan. 1, the official start date of the Affordable Care Act mandate. The deadline to buy policies for coverage effective Jan. 1 is Dec. 23.

But know all is not lost. You still can shop up through March before any penalties will be imposed for not meeting the new requirement that most Americans buy health insurance policies.

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Health News Florida
10:46 am
Thu December 19, 2013

'Junk Insurance' No Bargain, Some Say

Many who have health insurance policies that don't meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act protested loudly when they learned their plans would be canceled Jan. 1. The protest forced the Obama administration to grant a one-year extension, but policyholders who take it may regret it, say some patients who learned the hard way.

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Opinion
10:26 am
Thu December 19, 2013

VA Health a Warning of Obamacare’s Future

The experience Florida’s 1.5 million veterans have navigating the VA Health System provide a clue as to whether the “titanic” Obamacare system can succeed, Pete Hegseth writes in an opinion column for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The CEO of Concerned Veterans for America says the government should focus on fixing the backlog and other problems facing veterans first. 

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