ObamaCare News: Daily ObamaCare Updates
ObamaCare Facts' Daily Updates on ObamaCare
The latest ObamaCare News from ObamaCare Facts. We provide daily ObamaCare news updates to help you keep up to date on what's happening with ObamaCare Today. Due to the ever changing nature of the new health care law, staying up to date on the latest ObamaCare news is a must. Find out how ObamaCare will affect you, your family and your business.
Open enrollment 2014 is closed unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. To avoid the penalty make sure you have coverage that started by May 1st, 2014. Open enrollment for 2015 starts November 15, 2014 and ends February 15th, 2014.
ObamaCare News September 2014
Next Open Enrollment Is Just Around the Corner, Yet We Still Get Claims Hardly Anyone Has Signed Up
The uninsured rate is down and so is the deficit, you may think that this means that at least some aspect of success of the ACA is hard to argue... But that isn't the case for anti-ObamaCare folk. Whether the claim be no one paid (at least 7 plus million did by very conservative standards), every one dropped their plans (some of these people lost their plans but the switch to marketplace coverage meant many of them got a better more affordable deal), and the list goes on.
We have yet to hear a talking point that made us step back and question the findings of any of our research. So while true newly insured numbers can shift a little depending on the measuring tape you use, the bottom line is millions enrolled in the marketplace... Not to mention 7 million Medicaid and Chip, 2 plus million on their parents plans, and ten plus million outside the marketplace. The uninsured rate is down from 18% to 13.4% 18% and that is a direct affect of the ACA.
Hopefully a second year of success should make those arguments harder to make and harder to swallow. Don't forget that Nov 15th is the day you'll be able to sign up for the health insurance marketplace again and get cost assistance on a healthcare plan. Make sure you spread the word to help America bring it's uninsured rate down and to dispel the anti-ObamaCare talking points.
Great News For Everyone From HHS
The latest report from aspe.hhs.gov is pretty great news from nearly everyone. Next year we will be seeing a lot more participation in the marketplaces from more insurers. When more insurers compete for your business, in a perfect world at least, you not only get more choice... you get more competitive pricing too.
Some key findings include:
There will be a 25 percent increase in the number of health insurance issuers offering Marketplace coverage in 2015 compared to 2014.
At least 4 states will double the amount of insurers partcipating.
There will be at least 67 new insurers in the individual and family marketplace and 10 in the small business place.
Some of the nations top insurers will be offering plans in the marketplace. This is a good sign that private businesses are seeing the marketplaces as an attractive business oppertunity.
Get more key findings and learn more by reading the Sept 23rd HHS report: HEALTH INSURANCE ISSUER PARTICIPATION AND NEW ENTRANTS IN THE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE IN 2015.
Latino Uninsured Rate Sees Big Drops Under ObamaCare
According to the Commonwealth fund the uninsured rate among Latinos aged 19 to 64 fell from 36% to 23% from 2013 to the closing the Health Insurance Marketplace's first open enrollment period. That makes it one of the biggest drops in uninsured rates over any demographic.
Spreading awareness about Medicaid expansion and marketplace cost assistance goes a long way to making sure those who qualify get covered, but to see anything near universal coverage will not only take time it will take all states participating in the law's Medicaid expansion as well as the implementation (or alternative solution) for the employer mandate.
Learn more about the Latino uninsured rate at Huffingtonpost.com.
Limited Competition Means Higher Rates For Iowa and South Dakota
Which two states have the least successful health insurance exchanges? The answer isn't what you think. States with the highest uninsured rates post-ObamaCare are no surprise Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida (all states that had high uninsured rates and didn't embrace either Medicaid expansion or creating exchanges). But the states with the least successful exchanges are actually Iowa and South Dakota (while these states deferred the creation of the marketplace to the federal government, they manage their own plans).
The issue? Both states are dominated by one insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Wellmark decided not to offer plans through the exchange last year and will not offer plans through the exchange this enrollment period either. Not only has that limited consumer choice on the marketplace, it has driven the prices of competition up meaning more federal funding and higher consumer costs on the marketplace as more high-risk customers choose Wellmark's competition for coverage. Meanwhile Wellmark has ensured, at least for the time being, that it thins out it's rooster of high-risk customers while continuing extended coverage on grandfathered plans and selling ACA-compliant plans outside of the marketplace.
State reps have said they respect Wellmark's decision, but regardless the impact on Iowa and South Dakota's subsidy eligible residents and the ACA as a whole is less than ideal.
Learn more about these findings from the recent Kaiser health news article.
GAO Report: Qualified Health Plans and Nonexcepted Abortions
A recent GAO report on nonexcepted abortions has shown that some insurers are not complying with rules that ensure tax dollars don't fund nonexcepted abortions. Qualified health plans CAN cover nonexcepted abortions, but there are conditions. For instance, to pay for the services, issuers must collect no less than $1 per enrollee per month (this amount cannot be subsidized by Federal tax dollars). To ensure that the intention of the law, the President, pro-life Democrats, pro-life Republicans, and those who simply support this regardless of their stance are followed correctly, further steps are being taken to ensure states and insurers comply with the rules as intended.
Get Covered or Changed Your Plan Starting November 15th, 2014.
ObamaCare's second open enrollment period in which you can buy major medical insurance is coming up November 15th, 2014. Whether you missed the last open enrollment period and want to get a healthcare plan, had your income change and want to get a plan with cost assistance, or simply want to switch to a new plan this will be the time to do it.
Even if you are simply buying a plan outside of the marketplace you'll have to do this during open enrollment as (you may have noticed) you can't get coverage that protects you from the fee outside of open enrollment unless you qualify for Medicaid.
Almost Half a Million to Lose and then Repay Subsidies By Sept 30, Unless They Fill Out a Form.
Without proper income documentation, some consumers may be forced to repay subsidies that they received!
A little over 100,000 people haven't sent in the proper forms to verify their legal status and over 350,000 haven't sent in their forms to verify their income.
Forms must be sent in by Sept. 30!
As things go it's likely that the majority of all these are folks simply not getting the memo and or following through. In fact about 1.6 million incomplete forms have already been completed as of today.
Don't wait until the deadline on this one. The hour it takes to sort things out will give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Learn more about sending in your immigration or income forms here or simply contact healthcare.gov now and get help from a real person.
Uninsured Rates Down For Almost Everyone
Opinions on the economics of the ACA, it's pretty clear that ObamaCare reduces the uninsured rate across the board... for almost every demographic. The uninsured rate for kids hasn't changed much since the law was signed, but the reason for this is pretty simple: American children already have a really low uninsured rate.
That being said there are a few factors that may reduce this rate even lower.
1) Further expansion of Medicaid. Data shows that when parents get covered kids do too. Expanding Medicaid in some states has increased awareness of the program. The more states that expand the more we decrease uninsured rates.
2) Maintain CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). CHIP provides free or low cost coverage to over 7 million kids. CHIP's future will be up for a vote for the first time since President Obama signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA).
Healthcare.gov Testing Server Hacked in July. Here are the Facts.
A lot of fear was drummed up during open enrollment in anti-ObamaCare circles claiming the health insurance website was vulnerable to cyber crime and personal information was at risk. As it played out no such act occurred, the site ended up functioning fine past a few initial hic-ups, and everyones information has remained protected thus far. However, last month a testing server was "hacked"(ish) here is what happened:
The site wasn't specifically targeted and no consumer information was transmitted, nor was there any attempt to steal data.
A test server was uploaded with “denial of service” malware (a DDoS attack) in order to overload the server with traffic – a practice so common that it’s attempted 28 different times every hour. The healthcare.gov site itself was unharmed.
At this point in time healthcare.gov has gone through extensive security testing. Further security measures are continually being taken.
The attack is apparently the first instance of a hacker successfully breaking through the site’s defenses.
Remember healthcare.gov doesn't ask for or store any health related information, you shouldn't let your fear of the system being hacked stop you from obtaining health insurance any more than that fear should stop you from using any other service that stores your information electronically.
Read more about the status of the ObamaCare website.
$2.5 Million Spent on an Attack Ad That Attacks Another Ad that Talked About Healthcare.
The talking points of the new Cross Roads GPS ad include a tired old talking point about cutting $716 billion from Medicare. The ObamaCare Medicare cuts target fraud and waste and improve Medicare in order to extend the program, retain doc rates, all while adding new benefits for seniors. The cuts were primarily to federal spending via payouts to Medicare advantage and hospitals. The cuts were not to Medicare benefits.
Here is the CBO doc they cite, for fun find the part that supports the idea of repealing the Medicare related provisions of the ACA. Hit your keyboards "find" command to find the part that says by repealing the law, "Spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013–2022 period." In other words the folks whose main mission it is to decrease federal spending to "welfare" programs are upset about decreasing wasteful federal spending by $716 billion.
How Health Insurance Deductibles Work
Having health insurance is only half the battle, understanding how it works is a whole other can of worms. Let's take a look at one of the most important out-of-pocket costs associated with health insurance, the deductible.
When it comes to how your deductible works it doesn’t matter what type of coverage you have be it Medicaid, a plan subsidized under the Affordable Care Act, private major medical purchased outside of the health insurance marketplaces, or even a short term health plan.
Deductibles, coinsurance, and copays are all out-of-pocket costs you may have to pay for health care services before your insurance pays.
A deductible, let’s say $6,000, must be reached before your insurer begins to pay it’s share. This is true regardless of your insurance type. After your deductible kicks in your coinsurance starts working (the percent of covered costs after your deductible) and your insurer pays X percentage of covered costs (no less than 60% on major medical as of 2014 under the ACA).
The above being said it is important to remember:
• Deductibles reset each year. They are annual, not lifetime benchmarks.
• In general low cost plans tend to have high deductibles, high cost plans tend to have low deductibles.
• You are always responsible for copays (if they exist for a service) regardless of whether you have reached your deductible or not.
• Plans have unique networks of doctors, hospitals, drugs, treatments, etc that they will cover (PPOs tending to be less strict than HMO plans). There are minimums (see ten minimum essential health benefits of the Affordable Care Act) but going outside of your network may not count toward your deductible and may decrease coinsurance.
• Folks making less than about 250% of the Federal Poverty Level not only have premiums subsidized but have out-of-pocket costs like deductibles subsidized as well. So although they still need to meet their deductible it will be in part paid for through subsidies (Medicaid works the same way).
• The ACA mandates that a few services have no out-of-pocket costs before deductibles, one annual wellness visit and immunizations for instance, but most do. So beyond basic services the biggest perk of the ACA is that you won’t ever reach a dollar limit on essential treatments (ie. you won’t need to stop cancer treatments because you hit a maximum), won’t be denied coverage or treatment for being sick (insurance is guarantee issue), and will have a cap on the maximum amount your deductible can be and the minimum amount your coinsurance can be (ACA provides new standards for out-of-pocket costs).
• All-in-all deductibles function the same way today as they did pre-ACA.
Learn more about how health insurance works.
Avik Roy: Criticizing the ACA Without Mentioning Death Panels or Quoting Green Eggs and Ham...
Often articles that criticize the ACA (Affordable Care Act / ObamaCare) are broad reaching saying the law as a whole must be repealed or simply grab one aspect of the law and twist the truth until they come up with belittling none-sense like death panels. In the process everyone loses braincells and we move further away from making any progress reforming the law or our healthcare system... But Avik Roy takes a different approach.
Avik Roy singles out aspects of the law and makes some pretty smart suggestions on how one could transform the current law into something a little more friendly to the right. While we wouldn't go as far to say as Avik is unbiased (he is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and obviously a conservative) we will say that he at least makes valid points based on facts that can be countered with more valid points based on facts. And in this way progress can be made.
Like his views or not, we suggest you read up on the man and his work in regards to the ACA. It's easy to argue for preexisting conditions against green-eggs-and-ham and death panels, but a little more difficult to argue the merits and far reaching implications of the employer mandate on the economy and job loss (mainly full-time jobs being cut to part-time) versus those that are no longer "forced" to work at their job for health insurance (job-lock) and the fact that the mandate helps fund the ACA as a whole (Medicaid expansion and subsidies).
After you read the Avik Roy article and watch the video make sure to check out his main work, Transcending ObamaCare.
HealthCare.Gov Gets a new CEO: Kevin Counihan
Last Tuesday Kevin Counihan became the first CEO of healthcare.gov (the official health insurance marketplace). Kevin had previously served as the head of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, which was one of the more successful state based exchanges. There is obviously high hopes that his experience will pay off and he will help to make sure that a lot of the pitfalls experienced during the first open enrollment period aren't repeated during open enrollment for 2015 which runs from November 15th, 2014 to February 15th, 2015.
ObamaCare News August 2014
Employer Plans and Reference Pricing: What You Need to Know
In a May 2 document, labeled Frequently Asked Questions about Affordable Care Act Implementation, the administration essentially gave the go-ahead to large or self-insured employers to use reference pricing in designing health plan benefits.
The concept of reference pricing is that your employer gives you a cap for a treatment to encourage you to shop around for the best price for that treatment. This is meant to incentivise you to get the $10,000 surgery as opposed to the $50,000 one. The concept assumes both surgeries are adequate and says that if you choose the more expensive one you must pay fees above the cap. This is meant to reduce overall healthcare spending by giving folks to a reason to shop around for a great price on something that would otherwise be paid by the insurer, thus giving the consumer little incentive to price shop. This is also meant to incentive hospitals, doctors, and drug companies to price more fairly and competitively as discrepancy in price for the same treatment.
Learn more about reference pricing from Kaiser.
PA To Expand Medicaid Under Gov. Tom Corbett’s “Healthy PA” Plan to Over Half a Million
Pennsylvania’s working poor could start receiving subsidized health insurance as early as Jan. 1, now that the federal government has approved the state’s proposed Medicaid overhaul.
PA originally rejected the expansion of Medicaid to the 138% FPL but have since come up with a state specific plan to subsidize the 600,000 Pennsylvanians who would have been eligible for cost assistance under the Affordable Care Act.
It remains to be seen if the state specific approach, which shifts more costs onto the individual will work better than simply expanding. Regardless, this is a big step forward for PA and a relief to over half a million hard working Pennsylvanians and their dependents.
Read more from PA's Post Gazette. UPDATE: as talks move forward it is looking more and more like PA will simply expand Medicaid per the status quo established by the ACA (although perhaps with a few additions purposed under Tom Corbett's plan.)
ObamaCare Helps to Shrink Deficit, but Federal Debt is Still Growing
The latest August CBO report has some good news about the Affordable Care Act and Medicare. The latest report from the CBO shows that the deficit was lowered by about $180 billion this year when compared to 2013 despite both programs in full force (the deficit this year will be $506 billion, or 2.9 percent of GDP. In 2013 it was $680 billion). Of course not all of this can be attributed to the ACA, but it has helped to curb growth in healthcare spending (especially in Medicare) which has contributed to the drop.
Before getting too excited, it's important to understand that some people worry that cutting the deficit is a big problem. That being said, the report is further proof the ACA is working to do what it set out to do, which is in part: reduce wasteful Medicare spending to cut the deficit by over $200 billion over the next ten years.
Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) Runs of the Facts, Not the Talking Points
For better or worse the word "ObamaCare" carries some pretty hefty feelings along with it. To some it means hope, change, and a better future... to others it means a long list of words we don't want to publish. The truth of course is a gray area of facts, void of many of the catchy talking points that have been passed around for the past X years.
Regardless of one's feelings and ideals, the core provisions of the Affordable Care Act tend to be things that the average person supports: affordable insurance, protections from insurance companies, coverage for pre-existing conditions, protections from bankruptcy from medical bills, allowing children to stay on their parents plan to 26, Medicare reforms to keep Medicare working, cost assistance for tens of millions, the expansion of Medicaid to tens of millions more, and simply the idea that we decided as a community to help those who needed it in regards to one of the most basic human rights. Hate it or love it, on a individual basis and statistically speaking, the law helps more people than it hurts.
Given the points above Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) released an ad this week to aid his reelection campaign that talked about his personal struggle with cancer and his battle with insurance companies before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Mark focuses on the facts and his values and doesn't try to win favor by dropping the "O" word. He let's the merits of the law stand on their own without associating them with weighty polarizing symbolism.
At the end of the day focusing on the positive aspects of what he has done for the country and for individuals, families, and small businesses may not win a reelection, but it is arguably more honorable than relying on fear and more reasonable then pushing for the complete repeal of a law that is helping millions of hard working Americans.
Read the story and see the Senator Mark Pryor "ObamaCare" video blow or read more at TIME.
Medical Device Tax Follies
An audit of the IRS by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has shown that the medical device tax (aka Section 1405 of the Act: a 2.3% tax on medical device manufacturers) isn't taking in as much revenue as was planned and in some cases is not be assessed properly. This has put some extra pressure on the unpopular tax and given opponents of the law another opportunity to criticize the IRS's ability to properly collect the tax revenue created by the law's provisions.
The medical device tax is one of ObamaCare's more contentious provisions. Both Republicans and Democrats, especially in states which do a lot of device manufacturing, have been opposed to the tax saying it hurts the industry and jobs. This isn't too surprising, the medical device industry is one of our biggest medical industries, employees more than 400,000 Americans directly and 2 million people indirectly. Of course device manufacturers, like insurers and drug manufacturers, all are getting a boom of business under the ACA and so it only makes sense they should be paying extra taxes as a result, right?
When assessing the device industry and other health care industries that profit under the law we have to take into regard both the fairness of the tax, the environment of both large and small businesses and how the tax affects them, and the leverage these industries have in Washington considering the amount of power they have.
Learn more about the Medical device tax and the other 20 plus new tax provisions contained within the Affordable Care Act.
Putting Rate Reviews to the Test
One of the biggest scare-tactics used to sway folks away from ObamaCare has been the idea that premium rates would skyrocket under the law. Whether this would be from not enough young healthy people signing up (that wasn't the case, about 25% of new enrollees were young adults), or due to pre-existing conditions having to be covered, there has been a fear of rate shock and it's impact on the law.
This fear isn't irrational, in fact it was shared by the creators of the law and thus protections were built into the law to prevent this. One of the biggest protections is the rate review provision which says that all increases of over 10% must be submitted to the state for approval.
As of memorial day insurers have submitted their rates to be reviewed by each states board. Considering average increases have been exceeding the 10% for the past few years, with some states exceeding a 20% mark, it will be interesting to see how the rate review process curbs premium rate growth.
Final, approved rates will be made public in November (before November 15, when Obamacare’s second enrollment period begins). Read more about the rate review provision here.
Don't Forget to Verify Your Information
Over 310,000 people who got coverage under the ACA still haven't verified their information in regards to their status as a legal citizen of the US after at least 7 attempts to collect the information. Those who truly fail to do so will face losing their coverage along with their subsidies, the law is very clear that only legal residents can claim subsidies for health care. Likely the majority of these instances are comprised of legal US residents who simply haven't gotten the request or have forgot to send in verification, so it is especially important to spread the word to ensure these folks don't lose coverage.
Only 4 Million Will Pay the Fee For Not Having Insurance
It would previously estimated by the CBO that 7 million Americans would have to pay the fee for not having health insurance in 2014, that number has been reduced in new projections. Only 4 million are expected to pay the fee in 2014.
New CBO estimates show that 90% of the 30 plus million Americans without insurance will not pay the penalty for not having insurance in 2016, mostly due to exemptions. This number includes all non-elderly adults and dependents, but also includes the minority who will owe the fee and not pay it.
Affordable Premiums, Unaffordable Quality Treatments
The ACA isn't just about providing affordable health coverage, it's about providing affordable, quality healthcare to more people... while curbing healthcare spending. In order to do this the ACA includes a number of measures that addresses everything from helping people to afford coverage, to making sure that coverage has minimum standards that will lead to affordable care. However, for those with certain preexisting conditions it may not be enough.
Many Americans are getting affordable healthcare for the first time, but others (especially those with conditions which are expensive to treat) are finding that coverage is only half the battle. Beyond their monthly premium there are a number expensive drugs and treatments that carry out-of-pocket costs which result in unaffordable medical bills, despite all the new protections in regards to maximum dollar amounts and minimum coverage.
This is the same issue that we faced with Medicare, the legislation worked really well for most, but seniors who needed expensive drugs created a demand for a solution. In the case of Medicare, that solution was Part D and other supplemental options like Advantage and Medigap. Of course those solutions came with an additional price-tag to both the end user and the taxpayers.
The true success of the law will be measured not just by how effective we can be at covering folks, it will be measured by how effectively we can provide proper affordable, quality care... all while keeping health care spending down in general. The more people who go without proper care, the bigger burden that puts on the rest of the healthcare system and certainly the worse taste it leaves in the mouths of millions of Americans who need our healthcare system working effectively the most.
A recent article from the New York Post does a great job at painting a picture of the issue that those with preexisting conditions, like HIV/AIDS, are facing under the new law. Give it a read to learn more about how the importance of healthcare reform goes beyond coverage and what sorts of issues need to be solved.
Even though today we do more for people with pre-existing conditions than we ever have, it doesn't mean we don't have a long road ahead of us to ensure every American has equal access to the treatment they need at a cost they can afford.
States That Embraced the ACA Made the Biggest Gains
All 10 states that report the largest declines in uninsured rates expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership. State's that rejected both on the other hand round out the bottom of the list. Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act affects uninsured rates.
Hospital Chain’s Best Performance in CEO Memory Directly Related to ObamaCare
According to Forbes, Tenet Healthcare (THC) chief executive officer Trevor Fetter reported that the hospital chain's second quarter was "the best" he could remember and the gains were largely driven by patients who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Fetter, who has been with the chain since the 1990's, said patients who obtained coverage under the health law contributed to one-third of the company’s adjusted admissions growth.
Although some had thought the law may hurt healthcare companies and hospitals, the investor owned Tenet is reporting that they continue to see a growth in the third quarter. Tenet operates 80 hospitals and more than 190 outpatient centers, so looking at their success gives us an idea of how the ACA is truly affecting hospitals.
The bottom line, charity and uninsured hospital admissions are down while paying admissions are up, while in total more people are getting the care they need.
ObamaCare News July 2014
The Affordable Care Act Continues to Improve Medicare
Medicare program’s Boards of Trustees released some good news about Medicare's future under the Affordable Care Act. Medicare's Trust Fund will last at least four more years, to 2030, and projected Part B premiums for 2015 will not increase for the second year in a row.
The program has been extended for a total of 13 years under the Affordable Care Act. Other highlights from the report show that the law has reduced waste and fraud, strengthened Medicare's benefits, reduced healthcare costs and hospital readmission rates, helped slow the per capita cost growth, saved millions of beneficiaries over $10 billion in prescription drug costs by improving prescription drug benefits and closing the “donut hole,” restrained Medicare spending, improved care, and much more. Check out the rest of the report showing that ObamaCare is helping to keep Medicare strong from whitehouse.gov.
Getting Free or Low Cost Health Insurance is Scary?
Generation Opportunity (libertarian-oriented youth organization backed by "the Koch brothers") are very sure that the whole creepy ObamaCare campaign is the way to go, as they displayed again at the National Mall last Wednesday night.
Unlike most marketing and branding campaigns, this campaign isn't trying to get you to buy stuff or better your life, it actually wants you to be afraid of using the benefits of the Affordable Care Act such as free or low cost health insurance via cost assistance for out-of-pocket costs and premiums (which over 80% of uninsured young people can use), the provision that lets you stay on your parents plan until 26, the special enrollment period to access the marketplace when you graduate from college, the improved Medicare for your grandmother, or the Medicaid expansion that millions of young people qualify for.
Instead the goal is to get you to cower in fear without health insurance in such massive numbers that the Affordable Care Act fails, crippling our $3 trillion dollar health care system. Luckily / unluckily for supporters of the law, the campaign fails to attack any real sticking points and instead rehashes debunked talking points from 2009.
Check out more coverage from Huffington Post, Think Progress, and ABC. You can also get the truth on the ObamaCare myths here or watch other videos from the "creepy ObamaCare" campaign here.
To be fair it should be pointed out that the Koch brothers donate lots of money to healthcare, as they know that it takes funding from those who have more to help those in need.
Bohner ObamaCare Lawsuit Approved By House
The plan to sue to the president over using executive action to delay the employer mandate is moving forward after The House Rules Committee approved a resolution giving House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) authorization to file a lawsuit on behalf of the house.
The panel voted 7-4, unsurprisingly along party lines. The resolution must return to The House Rules Committee again to determine how it will be considered on the floor. The House is expected to vote on the measure next week. This is lawsuit follows two rulings from Tuesday on the legality of marketplace subsidies. Learn more about all of the lawsuits on our ObamaCare lawsuits page or read more about the resolution from the Wall Street Journal.
ObamaCare's 80/20 Rule Saved Us $9 Billion and Netted Customers $1.9 Billion in Rebates
ObamaCare's 80/20 rule, also known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), says that insurance companies have to spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical care rather than overhead and profit (85/15 for non-profits and large group plans). If an insurer overspends they must give rebates out to customers. This year about 7 million are due refunds of an average of $80 for a total of about $332 million. In all the rule has netted Americans about $1.9 billion in rebates since the law was signed in 2010.
Since 2010 the percentage of premiums going to overhead and profit has fallen each year. In 2012, 13 million consumers $1.1 billion in rebates and in 2013 8.5 million got about $500 million in rebates. HHS reports that the rule rule saved consumers about $9 billion in excess premiums from 2011 to 2013.
Subsidy Lawsuit Strikes Temporary Blow to ObamaCare
Big news in today on ObamaCare Subsidies. Two federal appeals court rulings came in today (Tuesday July 22nd) on subsidies issued to people in states that didn't set up their own health insurance exchange and instead deferred to HealthCare.gov. One federal court invalidated some of them while the other upheld all of them.
The first decision came Tuesday morning from a case we've been discussing on this site Halbig v. Sebelius. The panel ruled 2-1 that the IRS went too far in extending subsidies to people who used the Federal marketplace as the law specifically states that only states that set up their own marketplaces could issue subsidies. (The law was written when it was assumed all states would set up their own exchanges rather than defer that to the Federal Government.)
A separate federal appeals court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, issued it's own ruling on a similar case that upheld the subsidies in their entirety.
The conflicting rulings are not expected to go directly to the Supreme court, but rather it is expected the administration will ask to have all 11 judges convene to re-hear the case together.
If subsidies aren't allowed to be given to people whose states didn't setup an exchange it could mean millions of Americans in 36 states will lose their cost assistance.
The decisions change nothing right away. "People getting premium tax credits should know that nothing has changed. Tax credits remain available," said Department of Justice spokeswoman Emily Pierce. Years of more court action likely lie ahead before the matter is settled.
Learn more about ObamaCare lawsuits.
Some Health Insurance Company Bad Practices Still Persist Despite the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act fixes a lot of the worst practices of the health insurance industry, but some problems are persisting even today. This article from the Huffington Post points out some issues that customers are facing today in regards to bad practices such as issues with appealing insurance company claims.
ObamaCare Commonwealth Fund study
A July study by the Commonwealth Fund shows the uninsured rate for people ages 19 to 64 declined from 20% to 15 between June 2013 to July 2014. The study goes on to show some pretty impressive numbers in regards to the uninsured and their experience with everything from getting covered to seeing a doctor. On a more somber note the survey points out that only 68% of folks who participated in the study were aware of the health insurance marketplace and only 54% of potentially eligible adults were aware of Medicaid expansion.
Boehner's Obamacare Lawsuit
House Republicans, advocated for by John Boehner, are attempting to sue the president over delaying the "employer mandate". Learn more about the new ObamaCare lawsuit and other recent lawsuits that have shaped the future of the healthcare law.
Insurance Purchased Outside of Open Enrollment Won't Protect You From the Fee
Most private insurance you can obtain outside of open enrollment won't protect you from the fee for not having coverage. Short term plans are some of the only plans that you can buy outside of open enrollment (unless you qualify for special enrollment), while they are cheap and cover your health, they don't have to follow the rules and regulations of the ACA and don't count as minimum essential coverage (the type of major medical you need to avoid the fee). Learn more about short term temporary health insurance and what it will and won't do for you.
Rate Hike Protections For 2015
The Affordable Care Act aims to keep insurance affordable. Before the ACA premiums had been increasing at unsustainable rates on a yearly basis, the ACA's new provisions help to curb that. There are two ways insurers are now held more accountable for rate increases, the rate review provision and the "80/20 rule".
The rate review provision helps protect you from unreasonable rate increases. Insurance companies must now publicly justify any rate increase of 10% or more before raising your premium.
The 80/20 rule (sometimes known as Medical Loss Ratio, or MLR) means that if an insurance company uses 80 cents out of every premium dollar to pay for your medical claims and activities that improve the quality of care, the company has a Medical Loss Ratio of 80%. If your insurance company doesn’t meet these requirements, you’ll get a rebate from your premiums.
Should Employers Be in Charge of Providing Health Insurance?
The ACA's employer mandate has been pushed back again and again, but come 2015 large businesses are going to have to start providing coverage to full-timers. That effort is set to ramp up in 2016.
Unlike most of the law, which supporters of the law support and opponents want to repeal in full, the mandate has caught flak from both sides of the isle. Some claim business shouldn't be insurance game at all, while others make strong arguments for why the mandate is a good thing. No solution is set in stone yet, but keep your eye on the mandate, because this is one area of the law that could very well change again soon.
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Our goal is to make sure we have daily updates for you guys, and of course this is especially true when it comes to something like the new hobby lobby ruling on contraception. That being said, if you only check the news page you may end up missing out on some other great facts and updates. If you want to stay on-top of everything Affordable Care Act make sure to like ObamaCareFacts on facebook.
Getting Married Qualifies You For Special Enrollment
When you get married in any state you qualify for a special enrollment period. In Washington state that extension applies to same-sex unions that were converted to marriages.
Did 22 Million Really Get 'Affordable Coverage' Under the Affordable Care Act?
Did 22 million really get 'affordable coverage' under the Affordable Care Act? Sort of. Most estimates (including our own breakdown of enrollment numbers and statistics) have come in between 15-20 million. Enrollment numbers include all who found coverage under the ACA minus those who lost their plans and those who switched plans. The data doesn't take into account (many) sign ups outside of open enrollment, since programs like Medicaid and CHIP run 365. See this Washington Post article for some fact checkin'.
PS. Affordable coverage is defined as costing less than 8.5% of your families MAGI income or for job based insurance costing less than 9.5% of employee only income. Not all the newly insured got "affordable" insurance, although many did.
ObamaCare's Subsidies in Jeopardy: Halbig vs. Burwell
In case you hadn't heard yet, subsidies are on the line in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A new article from the LA times does a great job of explaining Halbig vs. Burwell. This case revolves around specific wording in the law that made the subsidies available only to those enrolled in insurance plans through exchanges "established by the state." Since 34 states had the federal government set up their marketplaces for them, it is being argued that those states residents shouldn't be eligible for subsidies.
The Halbig plaintiffs — individuals and small businesses in six states that didn't establish state exchanges — say, without the tax credits, they could have claimed exemption from the individual mandate penalty because they would be deemed unable to pay for the coverage.
If the courts agree with Halbig 34 states residents will lose their subsidies and become exempt from the mandate to buy insurance... They of course would also be without affordable health care (as this is what would exempt them from coverage).
Imagine you live in one of the 34 states and just got health insurance for the first time due to subsidies, now imagine those subsidies are taken away and insurance is now even more unaffordable than it was before. If this goes through it's a big win for politicians who oppose the Affordable Care Act, and a big problem for the millions of Americans who live in those states and depend on subsidies to afford their health coverage. Let your friends now about Halbig vs. Burwell and let your representatives know you are done with them playing politics with health care.
ObamaCare News June 2014
ObamaCare "Contraception Mandate" Ruling In Favor of Hobby Lobby
Update On June 30, 2014 the supreme court ruled that Hobby Lobby does not have to provide contraception coverage. Since they will still have to provide minimum coverage that includes everything required by law, except contraception, the likely outcome will be that the portion of their premiums that go toward contraception will be subsidized. Although contraception can be costly without coverage (about $50 a month, times 12 months is about $600) it is still available, check this article on understanding contraception costs.
HMOs, PPOs, Drug Lists, and Knowing Your Medical Needs
When we started this site people were angry that ObamaCare was going to kill their grandmother and plant a chip in their head (both myths by the way). Today, as many of us deal with the reality of the law rather than the rhetoric, a new type of angry email is showing up in our inbox - People mad that their prescription drugs aren't covered, or that drug prices are unaffordable under ObamaCare.
We will be covering this issue in detail very soon, but for now check out these smart articles that help you understand how important it is that you aren't only covered, but covered by a plan that meets your drug needs. Here is a point of view from center right and here is a point of view from center left.
In case you don't feel like reading the "ObamaCare and drugs" debate can be summed up as: PPOs tend to have wider networks, but many marketplace plans use an HMO model. Regardless of the quality of metal plan many of these plans share the same inadequate drug list, this leaves many with copays on needed drugs that all but negate their premiums and result in unaffordable health care. If you are looking to point a finger you'll want to get out both hands as a case can be made that this fault lies with the law, insurers, drug manufacturers, politicians, lobbyists, etc, etc.
The take away here is to understand your drug needs and your drug network before you obtain a health plan, and if its too late it's time to get on the phone with your insurer.
How the Fee for Not Having Coverage Works
If you aren't exempt from the shared responsibility fee (fee for not having coverage) and choose not to get health insurance (known as minimum essential coverage) in 2014 you will owe a per-month fee for every month you go without coverage.
The only way for the IRS to collect the fee for not having health insurance is to withhold the money you would get back after filing your federal income tax returns. The IRS cannot enforce the Individual Shared Responsibility provision with jail time, liens, or any other of typical methods of collection.
Please keep in mind that about 75% of Americans got a refund in 2012 and many who aren't owed a refund will be exempt from the tax anyway.
You Can't Get Minimum Essential Coverage Outside of Open Enrollment
Did you know that insurance companies have unofficially adopted the marketplaces enrollment periods for private individual and family plans? If you are shopping for private health insurance outside of open enrollment the chances are that you aren't going to be protected from the shared responsibility fee unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.
Minimum essential coverage, the type of coverage you need to be considered covered under the law, is only available during open enrollment in the private individual and family market (Medicaid and CHIP are 365 and other insurance types of unique enrollment periods). Don't confuse short term plans with major medical and make sure to get covered with minimum essential coverage during each years annual open enrollment period.
Average Marketplace Plan Costs Less Than $100 a Month
Post open enrollment data shows that the average marketplace plan costs less than $100 a month for nearly 70% of enrollees and less than $50 for over 45% of enrollees after tax credits.
Also state-by-state reports on premium growth shows them rising slower than or equal to historic rates, hinting that the ACA is truly curbing the growth of premiums despite concerns that the new benefits, rights, and protections would lead to premium growth.
6 in 10 Who Enrolled in the Marketplace Were Uninsured
With an estimated 4.7 million losing their plans, and many switching plans, some argue that the ACA did more plan switching than insuring the uninsured. But the fact is the uninsured is down from a high 18% to an impressive 13.4%. This new low uninsured rate is aided by the fact that nearly 6 out of 10 of the 8 million who enrolled in the marketplace were previously uninsured. Most of them hadn't had insurance in the past two years. Learn more from the recent Kaiser Survey.
The New ObamaCare Poll Says Uninsured Love the ACA, But Overall Opinions and Confusion Remain Unchanged
A new Kaiser Poll shows that despite many successes and happy customers (especially those who didn't have insurance before), America as a whole remains polarized and confused by the law. You can read the whole thing here or get the inside scoop on this poll or more on our ObamaCare poll page.
Premiums grew average of 10% before Affordable Care Act
The ACA includes lots of measures to keep premium rate growth down, and also includes some new requirements on reporting increases that do happen. Partially due to this, we have some interesting data on how premiums have been growing since the the ACA was signed into law. Remember that premiums have been rising steadily for years and that part of the growth post ACA has been about insurers acclimating to the new regulations which include not being able to charge men more than women and having to cover preexisting conditions. Get the breakdown on premiums under the ACA by USA Today or check out our discussion on new insurance protections and premiums under the ACA.
Narrow Networks and Formularies Still an Issue
A recent article from Forbes highlights one of the issues we are faced with under the Affordable Care Act, and one that stretches back much farther than that. Less expensive plans tend to offer narrower networks of health care providers and formularies (list of drugs covered in-network).
A drug formulary is a list of generic and brand name drugs that are preferred by your health plan. Your health plan may only pay for medications that are on this "preferred" list. Many marketplace plans use preferred networks that could lead to some high out-of-pocket costs for folks who need drugs that aren't covered.
While the ACA removes junk insurance and mandates ten essential benefits as well as minimum levels of cost sharing, it still allows for low-end plans that don't provide adequate drug coverage in some cases. Prescription drugs can cost truly unaffordable amounts without proper coverage, this is why in Medicare Part D was created and why the ACA tackles issues with the Part D 'donut hole'.
These narrow network plans aren't a specific fault of the new law, as much as it is a continuing problem in healthcare in general. While plenty of high-end non marketplace plans offer great coverage many plans found on the marketplace do not. Of course marketplace plans are are the only plans folks can get subsidies on, and as a result many who got plans with "affordable" premiums may find themselves with unaffordable medical costs due to their need of out-of-network drugs.
Enrollments Inside and Outside the Marketplace
Did you hear about the new enrollment numbers? Lots of people got covered during the 2014 open enrollment period, get educated on ObamaCare sign ups and enrollment numbers.
Small Business Transition Relief, Tax Credits, and More
The Affordable Care Act's "employer mandate" (ie. the employer shared responsibility provisions that requires full-time workers to provide coverage or pay a fee) was pushed back to 2015 / 2016. There is transition relief for employers shifting to ACA-compliant plans, tax credits for small businesses, and more. Remember tax credits are retroactive since 2010! Get the facts to ensure you get the assistance you are being offered or share this information with small business owners you know.
If You Like Your Website, You Can Keep it...
It seems some Republican leaders are still confused about the difference between "ObamaCare" and The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hint, it's the same thing). Recently Mitch McConnell announced that the very popular Kynect Kentucky would remain intact despite his efforts to help repeal ObamaCare. The problem of course is that Kynect Kentucky IS ObamaCare, as is the expansion of Medicaid which affects over 300,000 Kentuckians, the federal funding for that expansion which covers 90% of the costs (70% after three years), the cost assistance over 80,000 Kentuckians got through Kynect Kentucky, the elimination of being denied coverage for preexisting conditions, the 50,000 young adults in Kentucky who can stay on their parents plan until 26, and many more provisions popular with Kentucky’s newly insured.
Mitch eluded to the idea that he will keep Kynect even if "ObamaCare" is repealed (it's unclear what he meant, but seems he meant he would keep the site for Medicaid sign ups only), but without federal funding the cost of keeping Medicaid expansion would be somewhere in the excess of $500,000 million state tax payer dollars a year. Given that fact it's much more likely the Republican Senator would push to reset eligibility guidelines to pre-ACA levels leaving 300,000 Kentuckians without coverage options, as opposed to raising state taxes to pay for expansion on a state level.
Remember, the repeal movement isn't about President Obama, it's about repealing America's new healthcare rights and taking away insurance options from nearly 50 million Americans.
If "ObamaCare" is repealed most of the wording here from the Kynect Kentucky website would be removed, "Only through Kynect can you qualify for help paying your insurance costs, based on income. You can also apply for programs like Medicaid and the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program. Employers with 25 or fewer employees may be eligible for tax credits."
Learn more about sign up data from us and from ACAsignups.net.
ObamaCare News May 2014
Don't Assume You Can't Afford Coverage
A recent survey by PerryUdem for Enroll America gives insight into a lot of interests facts on consumer behavior during open enrollment. One that really caught our eye was the idea that the majority of Americans who didn't enroll during open enrollment simply assumed they couldn't afford coverage. Make sure to spread the word on cost assistance subsidies. 6 in 10 Americans can get covered for $100 or month a less and many will qualify for free coverage.
How Health Insurance Works: "ObamaCare" and Doctors
An article from Forbes focuses on the results of a new survey from Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) on how doctors have been affected by the newly insured under the Affordable Care Act. The bottom line seems to be that while not much has changed in the volume of patients docs are seeing, docs are noticing a issue of the newly insured not understanding their insurance.
The issue illustrated in the study is that it's common that the newly insured choose plans based on cost without understanding the benefits offered by the plan. While one of the struggles of the new law has always been the inherent complexity in healthcare and health insurance, it doesn't mean there aren't any solutions to this issue. We all have the option to change our plan during annual open enrollment periods, so even those who didn't choose an ideal network or deductible there still have a few solid months to take a crash course in how health insurance works and ensure you switch to the right plan during open enrollment.
Bailout: A Handout for For Insurers, a Protection for Consumers, a Bitter Pill for Taxpayers(?).
An article from the LA Times on the ACA points out that new May changes to the Affordable Care Act include more safety measures to ensure we won't see big premium increases for 2015. This essentially boils down to subsidizing insurers, if they lose money under the ACA, rather than them making up the difference by increasing premiums.
While these sorts of measures benefit folks purchasing insurance, they would also obviously increase tax spending making it a potential target for opponents of the law. Keep in mind premiums increase every year and insurers don't seem to be losing money under the ACA so this issue may be moot beyond a talking point.
Road map From Coverage to Care
Getting health coverage is only half the battle. The real focus of the Affordable Care Act is on our healthcare. Check out this road map from coverage to care from CMS to understand how to make your insurance work for you and your family.
Help Spread Awareness of Medicaid Eligibility
Despite about half the states rejecting the expansion of Medicaid, there is still work to be done to help Medicaid eligible families get covered. Medicaid and CHIP can be enrolled in at any time throughout the year and can even start two months retroactively!
17 of the states that rejected expansion saw their rolls increase by a combined 550,300 due to increased awareness under the ACA, reports the Avalere Health consulting firm.
Half a million may pale in comparison to the 6 million plus who enrolled in expansion states, but the fact remains that in all states their are millions of men, women, and children who qualify for Medicaid who have simply not signed up. Do your part and spread the word about Medicaid expansion and Medicaid eligibility requirements in your state. Get state specific eligibility requirements at Medicaid.gov.
The Only 67% Paid Premiums Myth
An April report from the energy and commerce committee showed only 67% of those who signed up for health insurance under the ACA had paid their premiums. However this headline ignores a pretty important point, most of the 33% who didn't pay had plans that hadn't started yet. The report was done before May 1st, when a number of the "unpaid plans" started. Actual current conservative estimates for how many will pay their premiums are closer to the 80-90% range, however the data we have collected unofficially is making it look more in the (95% range). Learn more about the real enrollment numbers at the huff post.
Insurance Rate is the Lowest Since 2008
A new Gallup poll shows the uninsured rate is the lowest it's been since Gallup started polling the uninsured rate back in 2008. The uninsured rate for U.S. adults in April was 13.4%, down from 15.0% in March. Read the May Gallup Poll.
Protesters Shut Down Missouri State Senate to Demand Medicaid expansion
About 5.7 million people will be uninsured in 2016 because 24 States have not expanded Medicaid. Some Missourians decided that wasn't OK and decided to do something about it. Read the Washington Post article here and see the footage here.
Over 8 Million ACA Sign Ups
The latest report on ObamaCare enrollment numbers touts over 8 million sign ups. While the final numbers are still unclear, as we don't know which of the 3.8 million who signed up in March have paid their premiums, yet data is pointing at a high ratio of sign-ups to premiums paid. Find more about ACA sign up numbers from the official May 1st HHS report.
The 2.3% Excise Medical Tax
Despite persistent chain emails and facebook posts that show a "2.3% medical excise tax" on a Cabela receipt, there is no medical excise sales tax. The 2.3% medical excise tax is a tax on medical device manufacturers and importers who must pay a 2.3% tax on the sale of taxable medical devices. Find out what taxes are actually in the law and which one affects you on our ObamaCare taxes page.
ObamaCare News April 2014
The Oregon Exchange: Cover Oregon Moves to HealthCare.gov
Despite successfully covering about 240,000 Oregonians, Oregon is dropping it's state marketplace in favor of the federal marketplace healthcare.gov. Find out what it means for Oregonians and their health insurance and learn about other changes to the Oregon marketplace.
CBO Report: The ACA is projected cost $104 billion less than the previous projections
The ACA is projected to cost $104 billion less than the previous projections according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). We hear a lot of numbers swirling around the media in regards to the Affordable Care Act. With any big program the way you break down the numbers, and the steps you omit or include when explaining your findings, can have a big impact on the message the data seems to convey. Get the facts on ACA costs straight from the source with the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Get the April 2014 CBO report on the Affordable Care Act.
Medicare Advantage Myth
Rick Scott claims seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage are going to see an average premium increase between $50 and $90 per month. Unfortunately for that talking point, it's not true. Get your ACA Medicare myths debunked here and more ACA myths debunked here.
8 Million Enrolled Through Health Insurance Marketplace
8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace. For states that have Federally-Run Marketplaces, 35 percent of those who signed up are under 35 years old and 28 percent are between 18 and 34 years old, virtually the same youth percentage that signed up in Massachusetts in their first year of health reform. Read the official whitehouse.gov fact sheet.
Uninsured Rate Around 12.9%
New Gallup Poll Suggests Uninsured Rate Drops from 18% to 12.9% during open enrollment.
The new uninsured rate is pretty impressive despite anti-ObamaCare states dragging the numbers down (Texas for instance currently has less Americans insured by Medicaid than before the law, single handedly decreasing nation-wide Medicaid enrollment numbers due to their refusal of Medicaid expansion.) Remember these numbers include signups inside and outside of the marketplace. Get the scoop on the uninsured rate from LA Times.
Kathleen Sebelius Out, Sylvia Mathews Burwell In
On Friday April 11th, Kathleen Sebelius (health secretary in charge of overseeing the Affordable Care Act) announced her resignation and President Obama has nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the next health secretary. Check out this article from CNN on the new health secretary.
ObamaCare Medicare Reversal
The Obama administration announced yesterday that it would be reversing scheduled reductions to the Medicare Advantage program, dealing a huge victory to private insurers and the bipartisan group of lawmakers who advocated for maintaining the higher reimbursement rates that President Obama claimed only padded company profits. Check out this article from Thinkprogress.org on ObamaCare and Medicare.
Small Business Unites Democrats and Republicans on the Affordable Care Act
More often than not the Affordable Care Act is a divisive talking point for political battles. Democrats support the program and Republicans oppose it (although the individual aspects of the law tend to be much less polarizing when polled separately). That being said both sides have come together in support of a minor change to limits on deductibles for small business health plans sold through the SHOP. Check out this article from the Washington Post on the ACA and small business.
The Facts on ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers
The latest talking points from the ObamaCare opposition try to skew the fact that enrollment numbers were on-par ,and perhaps even exceeded expectations, with an argument that not all enrollees have paid. The fact is most had to pay their premium when they enrolled in their plan, that paired with some rather complicated details poke holes in this argument. Check out the facts on ObamaCare enrollment numbers here.
Avoiding the ObamaCare Fee
Even if you missed open enrollment and missed the extension because you forgot to sign up for the marketplace you still have health insurance options. As long as you have a ACA compliant plan "aka minimum essential coverage" before May 1st, 2014 you'll avoid the per month fee for not having coverage in 2014.
7 Million Enrolled
Over 7 million consumers have enrolled in health plans through their states health insurance marketplace. The total does not include those who have enrolled or will enroll during special enrollment periods, Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, or bought insurance some other way. The end result is exceeded the February Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prediction for enrollment by 1 million and was slightly better than initial CBO predictions.
ObamaCare News March 2014
The ObamaCare Open Enrollment Deadline Is Now
March 31, 2014 is the last day to sign up for the health insurance marketplace. If you don't sign up in time you will lose your opportunity to get cost assistance toward both your premiums and out of pocket costs. Next open enrollment starts on November 15th, 2014. If you miss the ObamaCare deadline you still have options. Learn more about the ObamaCare Sign Up.
A new ObamaCare extension has been announced that will essentially extend open enrollment until mid-April as long as they have already signed up a healthcare.gov. People will be able to check a box that says they had trouble signing up and will be granted an extension allowing them to enroll in a plan. After mid-April the only way to be granted an extension under a special enrollment period will be to contact the call center and request one. Learn more about the ObamaCare extension.
7 Days Left to Enroll
Only 7 days left to enroll in a qualified health plan. If you don't enroll in coverage by March 31 not only will you not be able to get cost assistance until next open enrollment, you'll also owe the per month fee for not having health insurance in 2014 for each month you go without coverage. Sign up for ObamaCare today.
5 Million Enrolled in ObamaCare
The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that as of March 17th, 2014 5 million have enrolled in a marketplace plan. These figures don't include sign ups outside of the marketplace or Medicaid, Medicare, etc. The CBO had projected 7 million sign ups through the marketplace by the end of open enrollment March 31st, 2014. Sign up for ObamaCare today.
President Obama Zach Galifianakis Interview
The Obama Zach Galifianakis interview put President Obama "between two ferns" on Zach's web talk show. Watch the hilarious ObamaCare between two ferns interview here.
If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep it Part 2: Keep Your Plan Until 2017 in Some States
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS, i.e. the department in charge of ObamaCare) has announced that health insurance plans that were supposed to be canceled by ObamaCare by 2014 may be sold through October of 2016 in states that approve of the extension. This essentially extends some non-compliant non-grandfathered plans until 2017 (a plan renewed in 2016 is good for one year).
50th Repeal Attempt of ObamaCare
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted to delay the fee for not having insurance for one year. This marked the 50th time House Republicans have passed legislation to try to repeal or dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
ObamaCare Subsidies Fix For Insurance Purchased Outside of the Marketplace
Some people in some states who bought insurance outside of the marketplace due to technical issues with their states website, despite qualifying for subsidies, can retroactively sign up for a marketplace plan and receive federal subsidies. Since the marketplace closes on March 31st, 2014 this change has to be made before the deadline. Contact your insurance company for further details. ObamaCare Subsidies.
ObamaCare News February 2014
Employer Mandate Pushed Back to 2016 For 50-99 FTE
ObamaCare helps to cover working families who don't have access to health insurance. Come 2015 large employers with 100 full-time equivalent employees or more will have to insurance full-time workers. Starting 2016 employers with 50-99 full-time equivalent employees will have to insure their full-time workforce. Get the details on the employer mandate.
CBO Report Says ObamaCare Eliminates Job-Lock
A recent report from the 2014 CBO report on jobs has been used as ammo to back-up the talking point that ObamaCare is a job killer, but the truth is a little more complicated. The loss in full-time equivalent hours worked is from decrease in labor participation (workers are no longer locked-in to jobs based on health benefits) and not an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week). Learn more about ObamaCare and Jobs.
California Health Insurance Marketplace: Get Covered-athon
Covered California, California's health insurance marketplace, did a 6 hour live tel-a-thon to promote awareness of the health insurance marketplaces and to help drum up enrollment numbers. You can watch the whole, sometimes bizarre, stream here tellafriendgetcovered.com.
ObamaCare News January 2014
3 Million Enrolled in State and Federal Marketplaces
The official HHS report is out. As of January 24th over 3 million Americans have enrolled in private health plans through the State and Federal marketplaces. Don't wait until the last minute to sign up and enroll in a plan on your state's marketplace.
The Repeal ObamaCare Movement 2014
With enrollment at over 3 million in the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplaces opposition has taken their focus off of the sign up numbers and a full repeal and are attacking a new set of issues associated with the healthcare law, on the forefront of those will be website security. Read up on the Repeal ObamaCare Movement and get the scoop on ObamaCare's Website Security.
2.1 Million "Signed Up For ObamaCare"
More than 2.1 million people have enrolled in private health insurance plans through new federal and state websites since they were launched in October. While this falls short of the goal of 3.3 million, it is dramatic improvement over the mere 150,000 who signed up in the first weeks of the program while the sites were still ironing out technical issues. Massachusetts experienced the same issues with "RomneyCare" only to find that many simply pushed their sign-ups until the last minute.
ObamaCare News December 2013
3 Month Coverage Gap Exemption
A three month coverage gap exemption allows you up to 3 months without coverage in 2014. Get insurance that starts before April 1st, 2014 to avoid the mandatory per month fee for not having insurance. Learn more about ObamaCare Exemptions.
Last Day to Enroll In a Plan that Starts on January 1st, 2014
December 23rd 2013 is the last day to sign up for ObamaCare's health insurance marketplace if you want coverage that starts by January 1st, 2014. Check out our quick guide to singing up for ObamaCare.
Hardship Exemption Extended to Those With Canceled Plans
As of December 20th 2013 HHS announced that the "hardship exemption" will exempt anyone who had their plan canceled due to the Affordable Care Act. These Americans will still be able to buy insurance and use subsidies, but they will not be responsible for the fee for going without coverage in 2014. Learn more about the ObamaCare Exemptions.
The Affordable Care Act SHOP Delayed Until Open Enrollment 2014
The opening of the Affordable Care Act SHOP "Small Business Health Options Program" (the part of the marketplace small businesses use to buy employee health plans) has been pushed back to November 1st, 2014. Small businesses can still buy a SHOP plan through an agent now and claim tax breaks up to 50% of their share of employee premiums starting January 1st, 2014. Learn more about the ObamaCare SHOP Small Business Health Options Program.
ObamaCare News November 2013
ObamaCare Website Update: 50,000 Users at One Time
A new "fix" means that the ObamaCare website healthcare.gov will be able to handle up to 50,000 users at one time. This should go a long way to making the website a smooth ride for users. Check out the latest ObamaCare Website Updates.
If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It, until 2015.
President Barack Obama today announced a plan to let insurance companies renew for one year the health plans for consumers whose policies would be otherwise canceled.
Insurance companies may extend through 2014 the policies that would not meet the minimum standards of the president's Affordable Care Act. Learn more about Keeping your Insurance under ObamaCare.
Why Was My Health Insurance Canceled?
Wondering why your health insurance policy was canceled going into 2014? Let's take a look at why many Americans are losing their policy, how ObamaCare played a part, and why it could be a good thing or bad thing for you depending on the situation. Read more about ObamaCare Health Insurance Cancellation.
ObamaCare News October 2013
Ted Cruz Receives Taxpayer Subsidized Health Insurance
Ted Cruz's Goldman Sachs $20,000 family health plan is estimated to cost taxpayers about $8,000. Cruz is at the forefront of the effort to defund ObamaCare, which included a 16-day government shutdown, to stop taxpayer dollars going towards health insurance costs for low to middle income families and the requirement for large employers to offer health coverage to full-time workers. Read more about Ted Cruz and ObamaCare.
Ohio Expands Medicaid - State's Now Split
Ohio just became the 25th State to expand Medicaid eligibility levels to all Americans under the 138% Federal Poverty Level. The State's are now split with 25 States expanding Medicaid and 25 opposing providing healthcare to their poorest despite 100% funding for the first 3 years and 90% thereafter. Read more about ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion
ObamaCare Website Glitch
The official healthcare.gov website got off to a rocky start with many users reporting issues with the site. Luckily the Affordable Care Act is more than just a website and there are still lots of ways to sign up for health insurance now. Read more about ObamaCare Website Glitch
ObamaCare and Doctors
ObamaCare means an increased number of "customers" for doctors. Some of ObamaCare's changes mean higher doc payouts, while others could pose some problems. Read more about ObamaCare and Doctors
Grandfathered Health Plans: Health Insurance Purchased Before 2010
“Grandfathered” plans are those in effect before the act passed. Grandfathered plans have many exemptions to requirements of the act.
The Health Insurance Marketplace Opens
The health insurance marketplace opened today. Despite lots of technical issues millions of Americans are finding better coverage at lower rates. Find out, "What is the Health Insurance Marketplace
The Government Shut Down
House Republicans won't pass a budget unless it repeals and defunds parts of ObamaCare and Senate Democrats won't pass a budget unless it doesn't. The current statement is specifically over two parts of the law the medical device tax and the employer mandate. Learn more about ObamaCare's taxes
ObamaCare News September 2013
Changes to Medicare in 2013-2014
Changes to Medicare insurance 2013-2014:
For Seniors with Medicare insurance or Medicare Advantage not much will change under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).Read about the Changes to Medicare Insurance 2013 - 2014
ObamaCare and Young People
The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) helps young people in lots of ways. The law itself brings many benefits to all Americans including young people. The truth is the new health care law has been in effect for 3 years already and so many young adults have already benefited from the new rights and protections. Read our article on ObamaCare and Young People.
ObamaCare and Smokers
From the ObamaCare smoker glitch to the amount smoking can increase your premium the bottom line is ObamaCare affects smokers. Read our article on ObamaCare and Smokers
MYTH! $100 a Day Fee For Employers a Good Thing?
the $100 fee is a myth. Employers do need to provide information to their employees though. Get the scoop here. MYTH:
Beginning Oct. 1, any business with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue must notify all employees by letter about the Affordable Care Act’s health-care exchanges, or face up to a $100-per-day fine. The purpose of the fine isn't to extort employers, it's simply to ensure that everyone does their part to spread the word about the Health Insurance Marketplace opening October 1st, 2013. What Do I Need to Tell My Employees about ObamaCare?
ObamaCare News August 2013
ObamaCare Government Shut Down?
It turns out that ObamaCare has had a big impact on the hospital mergers. Read this article from the New York Times to get the details
ObamaCare News July 2013
ObamaCare Government Shut Down?
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has been leading an effort to shut down the government unless ObamaCare is repealed. He wants Republicans to refuse to pass a continuing resolution that would keep the federal government open beyond Sept. 30 in order to prevent decisions on funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He already has the backing of about a dozen Republican senators. Unfortunately for him, shutting down the government won't stop the already in place law from implementing many of it's requirements including the employer mandate.
ObamaCare Employer Mandate Delayed
The ObamaCare employer mandate has been delayed until 2015. Read more: ObamaCare Employer Mandate Delayed
ObamaCare News June 2013
ObamaCare Tax Penalty Explained
The ObamaCare tax penalty, the tax penalty for not having health insurance, starts in 2014. The penalty will be applied to your taxable income and will be 1% to 2.5% of your taxable income or a set amount, whichever is greater. ObamaCare Tax Penalty Explained.
ObamaCare News March 2013
Attempt to Repeal ObamaCare Fails Again
The senate has rejected the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to repeal ObamaCare. The amendment sought to “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide for the repeal of ObamaCare.
Cruz's amendment to the Democratic budget resolution failed 45 to 54.
ObamaCare Mandate Exemption Penalty
Those who choose not to purchase insurance will have to pay a tax "penalty" unless they qualify for an exemption. Exemptions from ObamaCare's tax "penalty" mandate are available to a number of Americans. Look below to see if your qualify for an exemption.
Read More About the ObamaCare Mandate
Rubio Opposes Government Funding Bill Unless ObamaCare is De-funded
Legislation funding the federal government for the next several months wouldn't gain support from Sen. Marco Rubio unless the bill de-funds President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law, the Florida Republican said on Thursday.
ObamaCare News February 2013
The Truth on the New CBO Report: 7 Million Employees Losing Employer Based Health Insurance in 2022. Up from 4 Million in April Report.
President Obama's health care law will push 7 million people out of their job-based insurance coverage — nearly twice the previous estimate, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday.
CBO said that this year's tax cuts have changed the incentives for businesses and made it less attractive to pay for insurance, meaning fewer will decide to do so. Instead, they'll choose to pay a penalty to the government, totaling $13 billion in higher fees over the next decade.
These numbers represent employees who move off of employer based health insurance and into the exchange or private insurance by 2022, since employees get credits to use the exchanges this doesn't represent a lack of health coverage, just employee based health coverage. These employers risk a higher turnover and lower moral due among other caveats such as additional costs to them for the penalties. It remains to be seen how this affects cost and the number of uninsured in general.
Penalty for employee who doesn't use the exchange is $2,000 while the penalty for those who do is $3,000. Keep in mind Employers only have to pay 50% of their employees health insurance costs.
IRS Average Family $20,000 for Insurance
IRS Estimates the Average Family Will Pay no Less than $20k for ObamaCare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..... Is a misleading lie that is being misquoted by the Media.
TRUTH: IRS Estimates the Average Family (of 5, making over $120k) is Estimated Pay an average of $20k in 2016 for basic Insurance on the insurance exchanges.
IRS ObamaCare Statement Explained
ObamaCare News January 2013
The ObamaCare "Glitch"
ObamaCare was supposed to offer financial support to employees who couldn't afford moderately priced employer-based insurance. However, due to wording left out of the bill by congress, missed by the white house and a failure on the IRS to rectify the issue, thousands of employees and their families may find themselves without health insurance and paying the penalty for not having it. ObamaCare Glitch
Life Time Limits Loophole for Students
ObamaCare lifts lifetime limits on insurance plans. However Some Students are finding themselves exempt from this protection do to a loophole.
The law states that self-funded plans don't have to adhere to the lifetime limits provision allowing some Universities to get around the law. This oversight (?) means around 300 thousand of Students get their insurance from these plans. Unless Universities lift the limits willingly students will continue to face lifetime limits.
Hobby Lobby and ObamaCare
Hobby Lobby Faces $1.3 million a day in fines from the IRS for standing up against ObamaCare. Get the inside scoop on Hobby Lobby and ObamaCare
Rick Scott (Slightly) Overestimates the Cost of Florida's Medicaid Expansion... By $21 Billion
Gov. Rick Scott said that the $25.8 billion price tag on Medicaid Expansion was too much for Florida to pay. While that may be true, the actual cost of Medicaid Expansion is estimated at $5 billion (that's the high end, other groups argue it's closer to $2.7 billion). Read More on Rick Scott and Florida's Medicaid Expansion
Michele Bachmann Introduces the 34th Repeal ObamaCare Bill, Adding to the $48 Million Dollar Cost of Attempting to Repeal the Bill
Should Congress Keep Trying to Repeal ObamaCare or Should Just Accept ObamaCare is "the Law of the Land"?
Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced a new "Repeal ObamaCare" bill on the first day of the 113th Congress. This marks the 34th attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
As of July the 33 previous tries to repeal ObamaCare took up a total of 80 hours in Congress, the equivalent to two full work weeks. Costing a total of $48 million.
Domino's Pizza Founder Wins a Temporary Ruling on Contraception Coverage
The Domino's Pizza Founder Thomas Monaghan won a temporary court victory after suing the Federal Government over the ObamaCare mandate requiring most employers to provide a range of contraception and reproductive health services or risk fines. Read More on Domino's Ruling on Contraception
ObamaCare News December 2012
Democratic Senators Call For Delay on ObamaCare Medical Device Excise Tax
18 Democratic Senators have joined Republicans on calling for a delay of the ObamaCare Medical Device excise tax of 2.3%. The Medical device excise tax is set to into effect on January 1st, 2013. Read More on the ObamaCare Medical Device Excise Tax Delay
$63 ObamaCare Fee on Insurance Plans to Cover Pre-existing Conditions
A $63 dollar fee on insurance plans to Cover the Cost of High-Risk Pre-existing Conditions Pools 2014 - 2016
From 2014 to 2016 up to 190 million Americans will pay a temporary fee of $63 for three years starting in 2014 (the price decreases each year, (roughly $40 in 2015, $28 in 2016). Read More on the ObamaCare Fee
States Rejecting ObamaCare Exchanges and Medicaid Expansion Costs Taxpayers, Leaves Millions Uninsured
There is a big effort going on to "break" ObamaCare. This includes a CATO backed plan to have states opt-out of setting up an exchange or expanding Medicaid. This ups the cost of insurance purchased through federal exchanges and hurts states that do run exchanges. Read More on States Rejecting ObamaCare Exchanges
Past ObamaCare News Updates on Events for 2012
Paul Ryan ObamaCare
Biden Ryan Obama Care Debate
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