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Affordable Care Act

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.

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.

It's open enrollment time for many people who have health insurance through their job, and Florida’s state employees are among those who are thinking about making changes to their plans.

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

Bush Outlines Healthcare Plan, But Who's Not Covered?

Oct 14, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said he would scrap the national health insurance law known as Obamacare.

Bush outlined his plan to replace it during a speech in New Hampshire Tuesday.

Bush wants a system that protects people from worst-case scenarios rather than comprehensive coverage that includes services they may not want. He said insurance shouldn’t cover everything.

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.

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."

US Boosts Privacy Protection On Health Insurance Website

Oct 12, 2015

Responding to criticism from civil liberties advocates, the Obama administration said Friday it has strengthened consumer privacy protections on the government's health insurance website as a new sign-up season nears.

President Barack Obama has signed legislation aimed at preventing premium increases that some smaller businesses were expecting next year under his signature health care law.

Consumers shopping on the government's health insurance website should find it easier this year to get basic questions answered about their doctors, medications and costs, according to an internal government document.

Insurers Find Out-Of-Network Bills As Much As 1,400 Percent Higher

Oct 5, 2015

It’s common knowledge that consumers have to pay more money if they choose doctors or hospitals outside of their insurance plan’s network. But a new analysis prepared by the insurance industry seeks to show just how much more in each of the 50 states.

The rate of Floridians without health insurance dropped to 16.6 percent last year.

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

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. 

Gov. Rick Scott is blaming rising Medicaid costs on President Barack Obama's health law, even though the state's top economist said the two were not related.

State economists estimated Tuesday that the safety net health care program will rise in 2016-17 to a total of $24.8 billion, a cost that would require Florida legislators to come up with $579 million in state money alone to fill the gap.

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.

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.

In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.

The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.

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.

Setting off for Washington, D.C., to meet with federal officials over health-care money at the heart of a state budget crisis, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday flatly ruled out a Senate plan to extend private insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of lower-income Floridians.

People in Florida and the three dozen other states that use the online federal insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov have a little time left to shop for health insurance.

This special enrollment period for insurance plans under the federal health law runs through Thursday, April 30.

It’s for people who didn't know -- or understand -- that they could face a tax penalty for not having health coverage, according to federal officials.

  

Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he is suing the Obama administration for withholding hospital funds because the state won't expand Medicaid.

The Obama administration said Friday it's making progress trying to correct a tax-form error that affected 820,000 customers of HealthCare.gov.

Administration officials said 740,000 corrected forms have gone out to consumers in the federal insurance marketplace, and another 80,000 will be mailed next week.

Several million Americans hit with new federal fines for going without health insurance are getting a second chance to sign up, and that could ease the sting of rising penalties for being uninsured.

But as the enrollment window reopened on Sunday in Florida and the 36 other states that use the federal health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov, it’s unclear how many know about the time-limited opportunity, let alone will take advantage of it.

The deadline to buy health insurance coverage for 2015 has come and gone. But some people without insurance are just finding out now that they have to pay a tax penalty, and they're getting another chance to sign up.

Federal health officials announced Friday morning that they’re offering a new, special open enrollment period for consumers who are preparing their 2014 taxes now and figuring out that they owe a tax penalty under the Affordable Care Act.

Florida has eclipsed California to become the state with the highest number of consumers buying health coverage through new insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, according to federal statistics released Wednesday.

After a computer glitch got patched up, supporters of President Barack Obama's health care law were out in force Sunday trying to get uninsured people signed up by the official deadline for 2015 coverage.

The effort had the trappings of a get-out-the-vote drive, with email reminders, telephone calls and squads of community-level volunteers.

Javier Villa has worked at his family's used car dealership in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ever since he finished high school.

Villa, 35, always assumed the insurance plan he had through work would take care of him and his family. But a couple years ago, he ran into a problem.

He was taking a shower one morning when he noticed a lump on the side of his throat. "Very big, like maybe a tennis ball," he says.

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