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Obamacare

The number of health insurance companies offering plans in the marketplaces this fall will increase by 25 percent, giving consumers more choices for coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Tuesday.

When the marketplace enrollment reopens in November, 77 new insurers will be offering coverage in the 44 states for which HHS had data, which includes the 36 states that use the federal marketplace and eight states that run their own, the department reported.

Thousands of consumers risk losing financial aid for health care premiums under President Barack Obama's law unless they clear up lingering questions about their incomes, administration officials said Monday.

The Health and Human Services Department said some people who got coverage have reported incomes that don't square with what the government has on record. At least 279,000 households with income discrepancies face a Sept. 30 deadline to submit documentation. If not, their premiums will be adjusted up or down in November.

More than 200,000 immigrants who bought insurance through President Barack Obama's health care initiative could lose their coverage this month if they don't submit proof this week they are legally in the country, but language barriers and computer glitches are hindering efforts to alert them.

The government mailed letters in English and Spanish last month notifying about 300,000 people that if immigration and citizenship documents aren't submitted by Friday, their coverage under the Affordable Care Act will end Sept. 30.

politifact.com

Health insurers want to raise rates in 2015 -- but Florida's insurance regulators are pretty much powerless to stop that.

And the Republican Party of Florida says that's Obamacare's fault.

Is that true?

Obamacare Still 'Red Meat' for GOP

Aug 25, 2014

Beverly Hires, a former nurse running for Congress in Jupiter, one of the nation’s rare competitive House races, ticks off her problems with the federal health care law: higher premiums, cancelled policies and employers cutting full-time jobs.

Florida looks to lose more federal money set aside for Medicaid than any state that has opted out of expanding the health care program for the poor, says a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.

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.

politifact.com

The Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- was dealt another setback recently when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled that people in states that don't operate their own insurance marketplace cannot get subsidies for the insurance they buy on the federal marketplace.

That's because the language of the ACA doesn't specifically say that.

  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.

New numbers and demographic information released by the White House Thursday reveal some telling details about the 8 million people who selected new health insurance through HealthCare.gov and state marketplaces.

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.

Fact-Checking Rubio and Scott on ACA Claims

Apr 2, 2014
politifact.com

Right around the 4th anniversary of its passage, the deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- has come and gone.

While the White House has been celebrating the number of sign-ups -- a number that's in dispute -- critics, including many Republicans, claim the law is fatally flawed.

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.

Have you missed the Veterans’ Day parade or the ceremony at your local VA National Cemetery?

Well, there’s still time to show your appreciation for the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. Here are a few suggestions you can practice year-round:

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.

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. 

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.

Less than three weeks remain for uninsured Floridians to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act if they want coverage as of Jan. 1.  So navigators were relieved to find the federal health website running smoothly on Monday. 

Lottie Watts / WUSF

These stories are part of our continuing coverage of the Affordable Care Act in Florida. 

Why Are 'Navigators' Needed for Obamacare? aired Aug. 22.  In Florida, several non-profit organizations got $7.8 million in grants to pay for "navigators" to help people enroll in a health insurance plan on the online Marketplace. 

Another day brings another delay for the federal health law known as the Affordable Care Act.

On Friday, the Obama administration announced that, starting next year, it is pushing back the start of the sign-up period for those buying individual and small business insurance until mid-November, rather than mid-October. That will give insurance companies some extra time to set their premiums, given this year's difficulties.

And, as some analysts point out, the delay may also ease some political concerns for Democrats.

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