Articles filed under Affordable Care Act

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  • If Supreme Court says no, they'd lose health insurance help Feb 26, 2015 1:04 PM
    If Supreme Court says no: Healthy or sick, insured say they'd miss health law subsidies

  • GOP claims paper shows fed aides' preps for health law loss Feb 26, 2015 2:03 PM
    Republican claims document shows administration preparations for health care law defeat

  • Administration: No quick fix if court kills health subsidies Feb 24, 2015 5:34 PM
    Health secretary sees no administrative fix if Supreme Court kills health law subsidies

  • Treasury issues reprieve for health law tax errors Feb 24, 2015 5:34 PM
    Treasury says taxpayers won't have to refile returns affected by health law errors

  • Meaning of 4 words at center of high court health law fight Feb 23, 2015 1:04 PM
    Supreme Court fight over health insurance subsidies focused on meaning of 4 words

  • Millions at risk of losing health coverage in Supreme Court case Feb 22, 2015 7:42 AM
    Erin Meredith, a fifth-generation Republican who lives in Austin, Texas, was no fan of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which she considered just another wasteful government handout. She didn’t sign up for a health plan until late last year, when she felt she had no other choice. Meredith is one of about 6 million people whose subsidized insurance hangs in the balance as the Supreme Court takes up a case that poses the most serious challenge to the Affordable Care Act since the court found the law constitutional more than two years ago.

  • New woes for Wrong tax info sent out Feb 21, 2015 2:33 AM
    New woes for Tax filing delays after wrong info sent to nearly 1 million

  • Tax Time Reprieve For Obamacare Procrastinators Feb 20, 2015 11:04 AM
    The Obama administration said Friday it will allow a special health law enrollment period from March 15 to April 30 for consumers who realize while filling out their taxes that they owe a fee for not signing up for coverage last year. The special enrollment period applies to people in the 37 states covered by the federal marketplace, though some state-run exchanges are also expected to follow suit. People will have to attest that they first became aware of the tax penalty for lack of coverage when they filled out their taxes. They will still have to pay the fine, which for last year was $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever was greater. This year, the penalty for not having insurance coverage is $325 per person or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater. By signing up during the special enrollment period for 2015 they can avoid paying most of the tax penalty for this year. The Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a financial penalty. But some people may not realize they face a penalty for not having coverage until they file their tax returns ahead of the April 15 tax deadline. The administration also said Friday it sent out the wrong information to 800,000 people to help them calculate whether they received too much of a subsidy for health coverage last year or too little. Those affected are being notified today by email or telephone – and are being asked to wait to file their taxes until after new 1095-A forms are sent in early March. For the 5 percent of those affected who have already filed returns for 2014, more instructions are to come from the Treasury Department, officials said. The 800,000 represents about 20 percent of the total number of people who were sent 1095-A tax forms. Officials declined to say how the mistake occurred. The administration would not estimate how many people it expects to take advantage of the new enrollment period. Millions of Americans who did not enroll in a plan are exempt from the requirement to buy coverage because their income is too little or they qualify for other exemptions. Officials said this special enrollment would be just for this year to account for people who did not hear or heed messages about the individual insurance mandate that was included in the health law approved by Congress in 2010. So far, 11.4 million Americans have enrolled in private health insurance through Obamacare during the open enrollment period that ended on Sunday. Separately, administration officials have said they will allow people who had trouble completing their enrollment by Feb. 15 to finish by Sunday Feb. 22. Officials estimated it would help fewer than 150,000 people. Julie Appleby contributed to this story. Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • New woes for Wrong tax info sent out Feb 20, 2015 4:34 PM
    New woes for Tax filing delays after wrong info sent to nearly 1 million

  • Florida has highest number of enrollees under health law Feb 18, 2015 6:03 PM
    Florida eclipses California with more consumers buying insurance on health-law marketplaces

  • White House: Health law sign-ups top 11M Feb 17, 2015 6:34 PM
    White House: Health law sign-ups estimated to top 11M as enrollment season winds down

  • Flurry of sign-ups at health law deadline; web glitch fixed Feb 15, 2015 4:03 PM
    Deadline day brings push for health law enrollment after technical glitch on website fixed

  • Snag affecting health law sign-ups gets a fix Feb 14, 2015 8:04 PM
    Frustration as health law sign-ups hit technical snag ahead of Sunday deadline

  • Correction: Health Overhaul-Penalties story Feb 17, 2015 5:01 PM
    Correction: Health Overhaul-Penalties story

  • As sign-up deadline nears, a new risk for Obama health law Feb 12, 2015 4:04 PM
    Supreme Court could unravel Obama's gains in health insurance coverage; subsidies at risk

  • Sunday deadline driving health law sign-ups for 2015 Feb 11, 2015 5:03 PM
    Consumer interest up ahead of Feb. 15 health law deadline; so are premiums

  • Texas Insurance Brokers Play Bigger Obamacare Role Feb 11, 2015 5:04 AM
    As the health law’s second open enrollment season barrels to a close on Sunday, nearly a million Texans have purchased or applied for health insurance. This time around, insurance brokers are aggressively marketing themselves to shoppers – it’s a big change for the brokers who have had an uneasy relationship with the health law for years. Bart Franco is one customer who sought help from a broker this time. He is the pastor of a tiny community church that he founded in a garage behind his house near downtown Houston where he spends hours every day in prayer. Franco, 65, is retired and covered by Medicare, so he needed to buy insurance for his wife and son. When he tried to enroll them in an Affordable Care Act plan last year, he got nowhere. “First, I called the 1-800 number and I was on hold for 40 minutes and just hung up, gave up. I’m not going to put up with that,” he recalled. Franco missed the 2014 deadline to get a plan on the federal marketplace exchange. He later called Blue Cross Blue Shield directly and succeeded in purchasing a short-term catastrophic plan for his family. But he felt the process was rushed, and he was uncomfortable with the plan’s high deductible.“They just give you insurance and [say that] it costs this much, and you only pay $146 (a month) that sounds good, doesn’t it? OK, fine. You’re hooked, and you don’t even know what you have.”So this year, when enrollment began again for 2015 plans, he turned to Jo Middleton, a licensed insurance broker who had advertised in the local paper.“She connected us on the computer. She showed us everything, showed us a deduction, why we didn’t want this and why we didn’t want that. So she explained everything,” Franco said.Franco’s rough experience last year was common, says Middleton, who is also president of the Houston Association of Health Underwriters. People struggled to pick plans on their own, using the website. Many learned later they couldn’t afford the deductible. Others discovered that a favorite doctor or hospital wasn’t accepting a particular plan.“Buying an insurance policy is not like going online and buying a vacation,” Middleton said. “It’s much more complicated. There are a lot more nuances.”Some shoppers did turn to government-funded navigators for help, but there are fewer than 500 of them in Texas, compared to more than 190,000 health insurance agents.From the beginning, brokers felt left out of the law because the federal marketing focuses on the navigators and the website.Last year, Houston brokers worked on their own to help consumers. But now they’re uniting to assert their expertise and market themselves. Middleton has organized two enrollment events featuring brokers from the Houston Association of Health Underwriters.Brokers across Texas are trying multiple strategies: holding events with hospitals and community groups, putting up fliers and even buying TV ads.Middleton said brokers have to become more visible, because the Affordable Care Act was written in a way that sidelined brokers and what they could offer.“There has been a deep-rooted thought process that agents and brokers are superfluous. That we are not necessary, that we are an added expense,” she said.Brokers say the health law’s impact on them is mixed.Theoretically, the law created a whole new market of potential customers and agents get paid a commission every time they sign one of those people up for a new health policy.But they also say their commissions have been cut. That’s because of the law itself – it dictates how much money insurance companies can set aside for profit and overhead, and some companies have dealt with that by cutting the agents’ commissions.Marcy Buckner of the National Association of Health Underwriters in Washington, D.C. says, “This has just kind of devastated the agent community, and has been in place for several years.”The association is backing efforts in Congress that would help insurance agents and brokers by changing the rules on commissions.In the meantime, Buckner says brokers have had to adjust.“We’ve seen some agents who have been able to really work the new opportunities that they’ve had in the marketplace, and have continued to grow their business, and have succeeded very well, while the others have still been struggling under this cut in commissions, ” she says.And some brokers have to switch their focus to Medicare policies or health plans for small businesses.It’s too early for any exact numbers on how many brokers stayed in the game, or how many people they signed up. What is clear is that more than nine million people have signed up or re-enrolled this year, with a few days left still before the deadline. And about one in ten of those people is from Texas.This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes Houston Public Media, NPR and Kaiser Health News.Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • GAO: Veterans' health care costs a 'high risk' for taxpayers Feb 11, 2015 12:04 PM
    Report adds veterans' health care costs to list of 'high risk' items for taxpayers

  • Fact Checker: Did Affordable Care Act increase average family premiums? Feb 8, 2015 7:31 AM
    The RNC tweeted "“Under Obama, Average Family Premiums Have Increased $4,154” during the State of the Union address, and it is now popping up in the twitter feeds of Republican House members and state parties. But this is a zombie statistic; a version of it keeps coming back no matter how many times we try to debunk it.

  • Anxiety over Supreme Court's latest dive into health care Feb 4, 2015 11:24 AM
    Nearly five years after President Barack Obama signed his health care overhaul into law, its fate is yet again in the hands of the Supreme Court. This time it's not just the White House and Democrats who have reason to be anxious. Republican lawmakers and governors won't escape the political fallout if the court invalidates insurance subsidies worth billions of dollars to people in more than 30 states.

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