Understanding Obamacare

Jason Redmond / AP

Reductions in federal funding for Medicaid are adding to the financial strain in Bay County in Florida’s panhandle, according to the Panama City News Herald.

More than two years in, just who has benefited from the Affordable Care Act's exchanges and Medicaid expansion? The New York Times takes a look at the numbers. The opioid crisis has left sickle cell patients understandably frustrated. Suicide rates are up for teen girls.  And, Side Effects' Upstate New York reporter Michelle Faust takes us inside foster kids' health care. 

Insurance giant UnitedHealth Group says it will stop selling insurance on Obamacare exchanges in most states starting next year.

In a Tuesday call detailing UnitedHealth's first quarter earnings, CEO Stephen Hemsley said the company would "remain only in a handful of states," after losing money on the individual health plans it sold on state exchanges.

When it comes to insurance coverage for mental health counseling and infertility, how much can people expect? And what would happen to someone who gets a tax credit for buying a marketplace plan if a state expands its Medicaid program during the year? Here are the answers.

Split Views On Health Overhaul In Ohio

Mar 11, 2016

Adults in Ohio are divided when it comes to whether they believe the Affordable Care Act has been good or bad for them.

And while most rate their own health care positively, far more Ohioans rate the state's overall health care system as fair or poor than rate it as excellent. Those are some of the findings in a series of recent polls by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

For Barbara Radley, there is "before" and "after." Before was when she could work — moving furniture, and driving a long-haul truck.

"It was nothing for me to throw a couch on my back and carry it up a flight of stairs," says the 58-year-old from Oshkosh, Wis.

Then there's after. After she herniated five disks in her back. And after, she says, her blood pressure medicine destroyed her pancreas.

Now Radley is disabled, suffering from diabetes, liver failure and scleroderma.

And she is bankrupt.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump released a seven-point plan to change the country's health care system that includes several familiar GOP proposals and one that puts him in agreement with, believe it or not, Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders.

People in Texas are significantly more likely than adults nationwide to report that it has gotten harder to see a doctor in the past two years.

The finding comes from polling done by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Vera Brown has been stuck aboard the doctor merry-go-round for years now, trying to find an orthopedic surgeon who accepts her insurance. She doesn't find the seemingly endless calls, questions or repetition amusing.

U.S. manufacturers of medical devices started 2016 with a windfall — a two-year suspension of a controversial tax on their revenue.

Florida Ends Enrollment With 1.7M Sign Ups

Feb 8, 2016

About 12.7 million Americans enrolled in private health insurance through the federal and state marketplaces for 2016, the Obama administration said Thursday.

Florida is leading the nation once again in enrollment, with 1,742,819 new and returning customers on HealthCare.gov.

There's football season, hunting season, and the holiday season. Overlapping all of these is something decidedly less fun and sexy: open enrollment season for health insurance.

"We've been busy this past month," says Iris Galvez, a health insurance navigator with the Houston social services agency Change Happens!

Federal officials say more than 1.6 million Floridians have signed up for Obamacare or had their coverage automatically renewed since last November.

Insurance Customers Begin New Year With Delays

Jan 20, 2016
Alan Diaz / Associated Press

Thousands of health insurance consumers around the country have started the new year dealing with missing ID cards, billing errors and other problems tied to an enrollment surge at the end of 2015.

Jan. 15 is the last day to sign up on HealthCare.gov for a plan that starts Feb. 1.  The deadline is key for avoiding tax penalties under the federal health law.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has notified the federal government that Kentucky will dismantle its state health insurance exchange, Kynect.

The move will direct Kentuckians seeking health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to use the federal health insurance site, HealthCare.gov.

More than 500,000 people have gotten health insurance through Kynect.

Health care companies struggling to do business in Florida led the most talked-about news of 2015 here at Health News Florida.

Midway through sign-up season, more young adults are getting coverage through President Barack Obama's health care law. The number of new customers is also trending higher, officials said Tuesday in an upbeat report.

Florida is leading in sign-ups, with more than 1.5 million people who signed up or were re-enrolled. 


Two insurers - Cigna and Preferred Medical Plan – aren’t offering plans on the Florida health care exchange in 2016, forcing more than 100,000 Floridians to shop for new coverage.

On a brisk morning in Denver recently, an ambulance pulled up in front of a downtown office tower. "I think the patient is going to make it," Dr. Irene Aguilar said as a team rolled out the gurney.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

The Obama administration said consumers will have extra time to sign up for HealthCare.gov coverage that takes effect Jan. 1.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

The latest numbers from federal health officials show Florida is continuing to lead in enrollment on HealthCare.gov, with nearly 600,000 who have signed up so far.

Cigna CEO: Marketplace Is Still ‘Version 1.0’

Dec 8, 2015
Associated Press

Cigna CEO David Cordani says the individual market created by the 2010 health law would be better off if insurers were given more flexibility in designing coverage, as well as a more compressed, focused open enrollment period.

Just days after UnitedHealth Group’s CEO said their move into the new marketplace was a mistake, Cordani reaffirmed that Cigna remains committed for 2016, although the firm is so far losing money on that business.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Florida is once again leading in enrollment on the federal health insurance marketplace, and that success has caught the attention of HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan. 


The deadline to get health insurance under Obamacare for the start of 2016 is less than two weeks away, and Floridians are by far the largest group of consumers signing up for plans.

Not long after Sherry Poulin married her husband Louis last year, the newlyweds sat in their kitchen with health insurance information laid out in front of them.

“We were like, this is just not, this is not do-able,” says Sherry.

Before getting married, Poulin paid $50 a month for a subsidized plan through Obamacare. Now, for a plan offered through her husband’s employer, she was looking at about $500 a month.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell stopped at Miami Dade College on Wednesday to drum up excitement around open enrollment for health insurance plans—though during her stop she was not keen on addressing some of the problems that have come out of Obamacare.

She began her tour of MDC in a computer lab on the second floor of the downtown campus where there’s a bank of computers dedicated just to helping students enroll in Obamacare.

The third year of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is now under way, and this week on Florida Matters (Sunday, Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m.),  WUSF's Carson Cooper takes a look at some of the changes coming for health insurance in 2016 with Florida Covering Kids & Families Project Director Jodi Ray, Tampa health insurance agent Eric Brown and WUSF News Director and Health News Florida Editor Mary Shedden.

Study: Health Plan Buyers Will Save Money If They Shop

Nov 18, 2015

You better shop around.

For holiday gifts?

No, for a 2016 health insurance plan on the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov.

A new analysis of Florida’s health care markets finds that as the state’s hospitals consolidate and expand, new business models are shifting the negotiating power.

ACA Recruiters Focus On Food Fairs, Churches

Nov 17, 2015
Phil Galewitz / Kaiser Health News

For the past week, Henry Bowles has stood along a busy road here six hours a day holding a sign that reads “Obamacare Help Center- Free Enrollment” and points to a nearby insurance agency.

With sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s, Bowles uses a towel to grip the wooden stick bearing the sign so his sweaty hand won’t slip. He is paid about $8 an hour.

Bowles, 45, is uninsured.