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Affordable Care Act

The clock is ticking for hundreds of thousands of people who have unresolved issues affecting their coverage under the new health care law. Florida has the most cases at 93,800.

The Obama administration said Tuesday that letters are going out to about 310,000 people whose citizenship or immigration details don't match what the government has on file. 

These consumers need to send in their documentation by Sept. 5. Otherwise their coverage will end Sept. 30.

Insurers: 2015 Exchange Rates Could Spike

Jul 31, 2014

State insurance officials are preparing to release figures next week on how much health plans will cost under the Affordable Care Act for 2015, and rate increases seem inevitable as insurers say their new consumers are older and sicker than anticipated.

  The Florida Medical Association's House of Delegates overwhelmingly adopted a resolution supporting Medicaid expansion to cover uninsured low-income adults at FMA's annual meeting on Sunday, according  to doctors who were there.

(Editor's note: This story has been updated with the statement from FMA.)

FL Blue Signals Rate Hikes Ahead

Jul 21, 2014

Florida Blue, the state’s dominant health insurer, snagged more than one in three consumers on the health law’s exchange this year, but many could face rate hikes as the carrier struggles with an influx of older and sicker enrollees, said the company’s top executive.

Several factors could drive up rates next year — including a paucity of younger and healthy enrollees and a greater-than-expected surge in people seeking expensive health services, CEO Patrick Geraghty said in an interview.

How much will it cost Floridians to buy coverage next year on Healthcare.gov? Lots of people want to know, but the insurers are keeping the prices secret in an unprecedented way.

(Editor's note: This is a conversation between WUSF All Things Considered Host Craig Kopp and Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry.)

The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.

The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom.

The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.

Nearly 1 million Floridians signed up for a health insurance plan through the federally-run Health Insurance Marketplace during the first open enrollment period, according to numbers from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Thousands of former foster youth are gaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The new law extends Medicaid coverage for former foster youth who have aged out of the system and are under the age of 26.

Florida officials say roughly 10,000 former foster youth are eligible. But they aren't automatically enrolled and need to apply for coverage. The provision is aimed at giving former foster youth the same opportunity for health insurance as their peers who are able to stay on their parent's insurance until they turn 26.

 Over two days at the Florida State Fairgrounds, volunteers organized by the Florida Dental Association provided more than $1 million in free services.

Al Lopez Park in Tampa is normally an oasis of serenity on a Monday. But on the last day of open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the community center was crowded, noisy and stressful. Hundreds of procrastinators came seeking help from navigators.

It was a microcosm of the nation, as 3 million Americans visited the HealthCare.gov website and another 1 million used the call-center line on the last official day to sign up for a 2014 health plan.

The insurance enrollment period under the federal health care law ended Monday the same way it began six months earlier, as technology troubles prevented many consumers from completing the online application process for the first half of the day.

Patty Gumpee tried to sign up for insurance midmorning before she rushed off to a job interview, but eventually had to leave a Fort Lauderdale enrollment center because of website glitches.

Kate Barth

In a Florida Matters show first aired Tuesday night on WUSF 89.7 FM, a panel of experts answers reader and listener questions about the Affordable Care Act.

In a Florida Matters show first aired Tuesday night on WUSF 89.7 FM, a panel of experts answers reader and listener questions about the Affordable Care Act.

politifact.com

The March 31st deadline is approaching for folks to sign up for a health insurance plan that's compliant with the "Affordable Care Act".

Meanwhile, Florida state lawmakers are back at work and Democrats are, once again, trying to get the state to accept federal dollars under Obamacare to expand Medicaid in the state.

Not every friendship starts on the set of a movie.

But that’s how Tampa teen Shelby Ronea and fellow actor Noah Diggs of St. Petersburg met. The pair was among the actors tapped for the Haley Joel Osment film, “Sex Ed,” filmed during the summer of 2013 in Tampa.  The film will be released on November 7th.

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, the 15-year-olds talk with Shelby’s mom, Renea Elmore, about their love for performing and their hopes for the future.

Is FL a Risk to Healthcare.gov?

Feb 26, 2014

Security experts working for the federal government last fall said two-thirds of state computer systems that were supposed to tap into federal computers to verify personal information for coverage were rated as "high risk" for security problems, the Associated Press reports.

According to a map from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Florida was one of the states the security experts identified as having a risky connection point.

As the deadline for getting health insurance nears, you might have some questions about how the Affordable Care Act affects you.

Well, here's your chance to ask.

We want to help sort out all of these changes resulting triggered by Obamacare, especially the looming March 31 deadline that nearly all Americans get coverage.

On an upcoming episode of Florida Matters on WUSF, we will ask a panel of experts to give practical answers to the questions important to you and your family.

Blaise Gainey / WFSU

On Thursday, Florida Democratic House leaders announced policy priorities they say they won’t let go of without a fight this session: increasing education funding, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and getting more Floridians health insurance.

But Democrats likely face an uphill battle with almost twice their number of Republicans in the Legislature.

House Minority Leader Perry Thurston says Democrats want the education funding to include a new need-based component to the state’s Bright Futures college scholarship program.

He says Dems also want to continue the debate about getting more Floridians health insurance after the state chose not to take $51 billion in federal funding under the Affordable Care Act.

“Without a doubt, the Republicans are looking for a very smooth session. We think that the last thing that they want to address is the $51 billion elephant in the room," he says.

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?"

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.

Author Kathleen Flinn comes by her love of cooking the natural way. Her mom, dad, grandmother and grandfather all cooked. Flinn grew up on a farm in Michigan, where her mother baked bread, canned vegetables, made jam and more. 

The family went fishing (on and off ice),  hunting, camping and her folks even joined the local German-American club, even though they weren't German.  

Flinn is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less you Cry. And her latest book, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, is chock-full of family recipes, including some of the sweets her mom used to bribe the local radio station DJ, so he would play her dad's favorite song at a certain time each day. 

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.

Navigators will be at Recreation Centers in Tampa

Jan 13, 2014
Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

With a March 31st deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is joining in the effort to get folks to sign up.  So-called healthcare "navigators" will soon be at nine recreation centers across Tampa to help people with the enrollment process.

Buckhorn was joined Monday by Congresswoman Kathy Castor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius at the Loretta Ingraham Center, one of the locations where navigators will be available to assist people in signing up for health care insurance.

Florida prison officials on Thursday executed a man convicted of the 1994 rape and slaying of an 11-year-old girl in Polk County. It was the state's seventh execution this year.

Eddie Wayne Davis was executed by injection at Florida State Prison at 6:43 p.m.

Davis, draped in a white sheet and strapped to a table with his hands covered in white material, declined to say any final words before his sentence was carried out.

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. 

A Florida judge on Monday dismissed the defamation lawsuit filed by George Zimmerman against NBC and three reporters, saying the former neighborhood watch leader failed to show the network acted with malice.

Judge Debra Nelson said the malice standard was appropriate because Zimmerman became a public figure after he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford in February 2012, generating a national conversation about race and self-defense laws.

President Obama's oft-repeated promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" is 2013's "lie of the year," according to the fact checkers at the Tampa Bay Times' nonpartisan PolitiFact project.

PolitiFact says that:

Getting people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act remains an uphill battle in much of Florida.

Politicians in the state erected roadblocks to the law from the beginning — from joining in the 2010 lawsuit to thwart the law to placing restrictions on what insurance helpers called navigators can tell people seeking advice.

PolitiFact's Lie of the Year Nominees

Dec 4, 2013
politifact.com

The ten finalists have been announced in a contest that nobody wants to be entered in.

It's PoltiFact's "Lie of the Year."

PolitiFact will announce the winner soon.

In the meantime, it's asking readers to vote on their "Lie of the Year" from a list of ten nominees.

Even though Florida’s Legislature turned down federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving billions of federal dollars on the table, the state's health insurance program for the poor continues to grow.

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