“With the Affordable Care Act to start enrollment for its second year on Nov. 15, some unpleasant surprises may be in store for some.
That’s because a number of low-priced Obamacare plans will raise their rates in 2015, making those options less affordable. On top of that, penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families’ pocketbooks.
“The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage,” said senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. “This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock.””

“The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case on a subject that’s important to millions of people who receive subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law. Friday’s decision follows earlier action in July when two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the issue. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey answers some frequently asked questions about those court decisions and how they impact consumers.”

“With the second open enrollment period of the health insurance marketplaces approaching, this analysis provides an initial look at premium changes for marketplace plans for individuals in 15 states and the District of Columbia that have publicly released comprehensive data on rates or rate filings for all insurers.
The analysis examines premium changes for the lowest-cost bronze plan and the two lowest-cost silver plans in 16 major cities. The second-lowest cost silver plan in each state is of particular interest as it acts as a benchmark that helps determine how much assistance eligible individuals can receive in the form of federal tax credits. The findings show that in general, individuals will pay slightly less to enroll in the second-lowest cost plan in 2015 than they did in 2014, prior to the application of tax credits.”

“Since the outcome of Tuesday’s elections became clear, a lot has been said, and threatened, about repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Republican control of the next Congress is likely to bring ACA challenges in two flavors. There will be early “statement legislation” to repeal the law and possibly to repeal the ACA’s individual mandate, a linchpin of the law that spreads risk and makes its insurance market changes work. These bills, intended to honor election promises to the Republican base, would be vetoed by President Barack Obama if they pass.”

“Lillian Saldana turned down Obamacare coverage once, and she might do it again..
With sign-ups set to resume Saturday, the 23-year-old Covina resident and her younger sister are hesitant to enroll because their parents are immigrants who are not citizens and therefore ineligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
Saldana, an after-school tutor, admits she could put the insurance to good use for a checkup, but she worries about putting her parents at risk or creating a rift at home.
“We’ve always done things together as a family,” she said.”

“Big Republican election gains in Congress will position the GOP to aggressively challenge Obamacare in 2015. Now the questions are how sweeping Republican efforts will be to roll back the law, and whether the party will pursue its longstanding goal of restructuring Medicare and Medicaid. Everyone will be watching where President Barack Obama draws the line with his veto pen.
Repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a key campaign issue propelling Republicans to gain control of the Senate and their largest majority in the House since the Great Depression. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is expected to be the new Senate majority leader, has vowed to dismantle Obamacare “root and branch.””

“Beginning on November 15, a new period of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will begin, putting the notorious federal insurance exchange portal, Healthcare.gov, to a new test. Outwardly, officials insist that the many issues that the website experienced in late 2013 and early 2014 are only a memory. The Washington Post’s reporting indicates, however, that administration officials may be less confident in the Obamacare website than they appear.
“[F]ederal health officials and government contractors are scrambling, according to confidential documents and federal and outside experts familiar with this work,” The Post reported on Monday. “They have been making contingency plans in case the information technology or other aspects prove less sturdy than the administration predicts. And some preparations are coming down to the wire.”

“The need for health care reform has never been questioned by health care policy analysts on either side of the political spectrum. Furthermore, the broad goals of controlling costs, improving quality, and expanding access are widely shared. Yet, while both sides agree that reform is necessary, the policy solutions differ dramatically, most importantly on the question of who controls the key decisions in health care. During the public campaign in support of President Obama’s health plan, the President made numerous promises to the American people about the law’s effect on everyday Americans. Four years into its implementation, it is growing ever apparent that these promises have all but vanished. Four Heritage Foundation health policy experts detail the five main promises that President Obama broke, and present a fresh way for sustainable and patient-centered, market-based health care reform.”

“The Obama administration predicted Monday that the number of people with health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces will be significantly lower by the end of next year than previous government estimates.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced that, by the end of 2015, 9 million to 9.9 million Americans probably will be in health plans sold through the federal and state insurance exchanges created under the health-care law. The administration’s expectations are as much as roughly 30 percent beneath the most recent prediction of the Congressional Budget Office that 13 million people will have health coverage through these exchanges next year.”

“Americans’ personal information is safe on HealthCare.gov, says a senior Obamacare official, seeking to allay public concerns as the days count down to the start of the second open enrollment season on Nov. 15.
“There’s no higher priority than protecting consumer information and maintaining trust for the consumers,” said Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, who has been in charge of the health exchanges since late June.”