Understanding Obamacare

Enrollment is under way for plans on HealthCare.gov for the third year, and consumers are seeing many changes in the plans companies are offering. It’s not unlike what’s happening to employer-based insurance, which is how about half of all Americans get health care coverage.

Editor's note: This story has been updated and contains a correction.

Florida lawmakers should enact more protections for health-insurance consumers and families of workers in small businesses, a state advisory board says.

  President Barack Obama says he’s worried about rising prescription drug prices, but consumers need to take into account the United States’ role in the development of new medications, he told WUSF in a one-on-one interview.

President Barack Obama this week announced Tampa is part of a White House Healthy Communities Challenge, a 20-city contest where local leaders will try to enroll the most uninsured people within the 3-month enrollment period ending Jan. 31, 2016.

President Barack Obama’s administration is battling its own success with health insurance enrollment.

It’s been nearly three years since Americans started signing up on insurance exchanges like HealthCare.gov; 17.6 million more people across the nation are covered.

WUSF

For much of this year, Sara Goodrich of Lakeland has gone without health insurance -- despite trying over and over again to complete enrollment on HealthCare.gov.

“For the last six months, all of the agents have been telling me something else is the issue. Resubmit here, there's an address error, it's your birthday, for some reason, that would affect my application, and I just said, I am trying to follow the rules here, and you guys aren't helping,’” she said. 

  

Open enrollment on HealthCare.gov started Sunday, and federal health officials expect the third year of open enrollment to be more challenging than in previous years.

Ten million people still don't have health insurance two years after the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

Some never bought a policy. But 20 percent went to the trouble of signing up on HealthCare.gov, or one of the state insurance exchanges, and even made payments. Then, those 2 million people let their insurance lapse.

NPR asked visitors to our Facebook page to tell us why.

The math is harsh: The federal penalty for having no health insurance is set to jump to $695, and the Obama administration is being urged to highlight that cold fact to help drive its new pitch for health law sign-ups.

HealthCare.gov

Two weeks before the federal Health Insurance Marketplace opens for enrollment, a major national company is withdrawing its Florida plans from the exchange. 

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is proposing to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care law with one that would increase tax credits for individuals, allowing them to buy coverage protection against "high-cost medical events."

HealthCare.gov

Florida still has nearly 2.8 million residents who lack health insurance, according to a new report, and 80 percent of them are uninsured for reasons that have nothing to do with Medicaid politics.

Chronically Ill Pay More For Marketplace Plans Than Employer Coverage

Oct 6, 2015

Chronically ill people enrolled in individual health plans sold on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges pay on average twice as much out-of-pocket for prescription drugs each year than people covered through their workplace, according to a study published Monday in the Health Affairs journal.

Florida Blue is introducing hybrid plans into Florida’s Affordable Care Act marketplace. They  could give consumers both more and fewer choices in providers.

Florida’s health insurance market for next year is beginning to take shape, and there will be cost increases. But  that’s not what’s raising eyebrows. In Florida, managed care health plans will dominate the market place, and the emergence of a new system  has some wondering, what is an EPO?

AP

Seven Floridians organizations were awarded $9.95 million to help with the third year of enrollment on the federal marketplace.

The monthly premiums for many of the plans sold on the federal health insurance marketplace will be increasing for Floridians in 2016, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. 

Sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law doesn't start for another couple of months, but the next few days are crucial for hundreds of thousands of customers at risk of losing financial aid when they renew coverage for 2016.

  Numbers released by federal health officials Thursday show that Florida led in health insurance sign-ups during extra time given during tax season.

More than 30,000 Floridians took advantage of the extended enrollment period that ended April 30. That's the highest among the 37 states that use the federal marketplace at HealthCare.gov.

The extra time was given for people who didn't know -- or understand -- they could face a tax penalty for not having health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

About 1.8 million households that got financial help for health insurance under President Barack Obama's law now have issues with their tax returns that could jeopardize their subsidies next year. Administration officials say those taxpayers will have to act quickly.

"There's still time, but people need to take action soon," said Lori Lodes, communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs HealthCare.gov.

HHS: States Should Negotiate Lower ACA Rates

Jul 23, 2015

Some analysts who have looked at health insurers’ proposed premiums for next year predict major increases for policies sold on state and federal health exchanges. Others say it’s too soon to tell. One thing is clear: There’s a battle brewing behind the scenes to keep plans affordable for consumers.

About 7.5 million Americans paid an average penalty of $200 for not having health insurance in 2014 — the first year most Americans were required to have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.

By contrast, taxpayers filing three-quarters of the 102 million returns received by the IRS so far this year checked a box indicating they had qualifying insurance coverage all year.

HealthCare.gov

Phony applicants that investigators signed up last year under President Barack Obama's health care law got automatically re-enrolled for 2015. Some were rewarded with even bigger taxpayer subsidies for their insurance premiums, a congressional probe has found.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says 11 counterfeit characters that its investigators created last year were automatically re-enrolled by HealthCare.gov, even though most had unresolved documentation issues. In Obama's terms, they got to keep the coverage they had.

The Affordable Care Act got a big boost from the Supreme Court in June. But some states are still dealing with fallout from a previous Supreme Court decision that left it up to states to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid.

In Florida, which opted not to expand, about 850,000 people were left in health care limbo that some call the coverage gap.

The Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Obama administration means 6.4 million people won't lose subsidies that helped them afford health insurance.

But the historic ruling in King v. Burwell may be far from the last word on health overhaul.

Bills to advance or cripple the law in statehouses didn't come to a halt in the months that lawmakers awaited the Supreme Court decision. They may well smolder for months or years.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on health subsidies keeps intact the way more than 1 million Floridians buy and pay for insurance through HealthCare.gov.

People like Phil Ammann. After nearly a decade without insurance, the St. Petersburg resident on Thursday was thrilled by the news. A $300 subsidy means he pays just $93 a month for coverage.

U.S. Supreme Court

Most Americans want the Supreme Court to side with the government when it decides whether the feds can continue subsidizing insurance premiums in all 50 states under President Barack Obama's health care law, according to polls in recent months.

Few, however, have much confidence that the court can rule objectively in the case, King v. Burwell.

Here are five things to know about public opinion on the Supreme Court's coming decision on the health care law:

MOST WANT LAW UPHELD

The House voted Tuesday to kill a federal panel that is supposed to find ways to curb Medicare spending, as Republicans ignored a veto threat and leveled their latest blow at President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board have never been appointed, and the panel has never recommended savings from Medicare, the $600-billion-a-year health care program for the elderly.

U.S. House of Representatives

House and Senate Republican leaders are ready to tell GOP lawmakers about their proposals for responding to a Supreme Court decision that could abruptly halt federal health care subsidies for millions of people.

With justices expected to rule imminently and possibly obliterate a pillar of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, each chamber's Republican leaders planned separate briefings Wednesday for their party's rank-and-file.

HealthCare.gov

The Obama administration gave conditional approval Monday to Arkansas, Delaware and Pennsylvania to expand their roles in the insurance marketplaces created under the 2010 health care law, ahead of a high court decision that could wipe out federal health insurance subsidies for millions.

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