Understanding Obamacare

Kaiser Health News

Contradicting Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, a study from the RAND Corporation reports that the Affordable Care Act is unlikely to cause a hike in premiums for the individual market in this state or nationally.

Wikipedia.com

Michigan, which like Florida has a Republican governor and legislative majority, has voted to accept federal funds and expand its Medicaid program to the low-income uninsured. It is yet another GOP-dominated state that has done what Florida did not.

More than 1 million low-income uninsured in Florida are spared from paying any penalty for not having health coverage under the Affordable Care Act as of Jan. 1, according to the rules issued this week by the Obama administration.

Florida is facing a challenge: With the start of the health-insurance enrollment period less than five weeks away, paid “navigators” and volunteers are still unsure how they will find and sign up millions who qualify for and need coverage. State officials have not helped, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. 

Some of the large employers in Florida’s tourism and retail industries could get away with providing very cheap coverage -- so “skinny” it doesn’t even cover a hospital stay -- under one interpretation of the administration’s rules on the Affordable Care Act Rules, Kaiser Health News reports.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act rallied hundreds of conservatives at a Tampa hotel Wednesday night with a call for the Republican House to strip funds for the law out of next year's budget.

The budget vote is scheduled for right after Labor Day, in time for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

"Can we defund Obamacare? Yes, we can!" declared Mike Needham, CEO of the host group Heritage Action for America. The crowd applauded heartily at his use of President Barack Obama's campaign slogan.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act say Florida officials' concern about a program that will help uninsured people sign up for coverage has no foundation in fact.

There is no danger that so-called "navigators" will steal people's identities or feed information into a giant federal database, said Greg Mellowe, policy director for the consumer group Florida CHAIN. The group is one of the non-profits that will get a share of federal grant money for the "navigator" program.

State Cabinet officials expressed concern Tuesday that the federal government's "navigator" plan would place Floridians' personal information in danger. They urged citizens to use state-licensed insurance agents to get help deciding which is the best insurance plan when the federal online Marketplace opens Oct. 1.

Gov. Rick Scott said he fears that the federal government wants to amass a huge database of personal information on citizens' health.  He said he's worried that the navigators will turn over information for that database.

The House and Senate sponsors of the law that removed Florida insurance officials' ability to regulate health-insurance rates for two years said they stand by their decision, which has come under increasing criticism by consumer groups and newspaper editorial boards. 

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The Oct. 1 launch of the new health insurance exchanges is now less than two months away, and people are starting to pay attention to the changes these new marketplaces may bring to the nation's health care system.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was on the University of South Florida Tampa campus Thursday afternoon to hand out $7.8 million in grants to help Floridians with the Affordable Care Act. 

The money will be given to eight organizations around the state to hire staff to help consumers enroll in a health insurance plan. Starting Jan. 1, almost all Americans will be required to buy health insurance under the ACA.

Demystifying Obamacare

Aug 13, 2013

It's the law of the land, and by Jan. 1, 2014, most Americans will be required to have some form of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Yet, polls show many still are confused about the law and its implementation.

We spoke with Carol Gentry, founder and editor of Health News Florida, a subsidiary of WUSF Public Media in Tampa, for some basics about the ACA or Obamacare - and issues specific to Florida.

First Coast Connect: What should people know about the new insurance exchanges that will be online this fall?

Lottie Watts / WUSF

We asked our readers to tell us what they thought was confusing about the Affordable Care Act, and you called, e-mailed and Facebooked us with questions. On Florida Matters, WUSF’s Craig Kopp sits down with attorney Linda Fleming of Carlton Fields; Julian Lago, the regional vice president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, and Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry to help answer some of those questions. 

To listen to the complete show, visit the Florida Matters website

Lottie Watts / WUSF

We asked our readers to tell us what they thought was confusing about the Affordable Care Act, and you called, e-mailed and Facebooked us with questions. This week on Florida Matters, WUSF’s Craig Kopp sits down with attorney Linda Fleming of Carlton Fields, Julian Lago with the National Association of Health Underwriters and Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry to help answer some of those questions. 

The show airs tonight at 6:30 p.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM. You can listen to the live stream online by clicking on the “Listen Live” button in the top left corner of this page. A podcast of the half-hour show will be available on the Florida Matters website

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