Articles on the implementation of ObamaCare.

The Obama administration suffered a setback in its efforts to strengthen the individual insurance market when a federal appeals court last week struck down an HHS rule barring the sale of certain limited-benefit plans as stand-alone products.

In Central United Life v. Burwell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a 2014 HHS rule restricting the sale of fixed-indemnity insurance plans that pay policyholders fixed dollar amounts to cover medical services regardless of how much the provider bills. These plans, which are cheaper to buy than comprehensive plans but exclude pre-existing conditions, do not comply with Affordable Care Act provisions on minimum essential benefits or guaranteed issue.

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A federal appeals court has ruled that consumers must be allowed to buy certain types of health insurance that do not meet the stringent standards of the Affordable Care Act, deciding that the administration had gone beyond the terms of federal law.

The court struck down a rule issued by the Obama administration that barred the sale of such insurance as a separate stand-alone product. “Disagreeing with Congress’s expressly codified policy choices isn’t a luxury administrative agencies enjoy,” the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said on Friday in a decision that criticized “administrative overreach” by the Department of Health and Human Services.

At issue is a type of insurance that pays consumers a fixed dollar amount, such as $500 a day for hospital care or $50 for a doctor’s visit, regardless of how much is actually owed to the provider.

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Connecticut’s financially “unstable” Obamacare health-insurance co-op was placed under state supervision on Tuesday, as regulators said 40,000 people covered by the company will ultimately have to find new plans for the coming year.

HealthyCT is the 14th of 23 original Obamacare co-ops to fail since they began selling health plans on government-run Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges. Several of the other remaining co-ops, at least, are believed to be on shaky financial ground.

Until last week, the nonprofit HealthyCT had “adequate capital and sustainable liquidity” — but that fell apart Thursday with a federal requirement that hit HealthyCT with a $13.4 million bill, according to the Connecticut Insurance Department.

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This refrain may sound familiar: If you qualify for Medicaid but you like your “Obamacare” plan, you can keep it … unless you can’t.

That’s the confusing and mixed message residents are getting from the state and insurance companies now that Louisiana has become the 31st state to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

About 375,000 people — mostly the working poor — are expected to get free health insurance coverage through the expanded program, which is mostly subsidized by the federal government.

Tens of thousands of those Louisiana residents — the total is not known — already have health insurance policies through what is called the federal marketplace, an Obamacare program that pays most of their insurance premiums.

The state says people who bought individual policies through the federal marketplace but now qualify for Medicaid under the state expansion can keep their Obamacare plans if they prefer them over Medicaid. They just have to keep paying their share of the premiums.

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Graduate students have long relied on health insurance subsidies awarded as part of financial-aid packages as they try to earn a living and a degree.

But the future of that benefit could be jeopardized by the Internal Revenue Service’s interpretation of a provision of the Affordable Care Act that casts the subsidies as an attempt to elude ACA’s employer mandate.

Seventeen U.S. senators, including Virginia Sens. Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine, both Democrats, wrote a letter last month urging the Obama administration to clarify the IRS language and warning that it runs counter to ACA’s primary goal to expand insurance coverage.

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Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit released two opinions in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) cases.  In one case, the federal government prevailed. In the other, it did not.

In the first case, West Virginia v. Department of Health and Human Services, a unanimous panel concluded that the state of West Virginia lacks Article III standing to challenge the Obama administration’s decision to waive some of the PPACA’s requirements governing minimum coverage requirements. This litigation responds to the Obama administration’s response to outrage over insurance plan cancellations — cancellations that were politically problematic because they revealed that the president’s promise that “if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it” was a lie. (Indeed, it was Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” for 2013.)

In a second case decided Friday, the administration did not fare so well.  In Central United Life Insurance, Co. v. Burwell, another unanimous panel invalidated an HHS regulation for exceeding the scope of its delegated powers under the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), as amended by the PPACA. Specifically, HHS had adopted regulations seeking to prevent consumers from obtaining fixed indemnity policies that fail to satisfy the PPACA’s minimum essential coverage requirements, despite the PHSA’s exemption of such plans from such requirements.

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ObamaCare enrollment dropped to about 11.1 million people at the end of March, according to new figures released by the administration.

 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said enrollment fell to about 11.1 million, down from the 12.7 million who signed up for coverage before the Jan. 31 deadline.

A dropoff was expected, and has occurred in previous years as well, given that some people who sign up do not pay their premiums.

The CMS said 87 percent of enrollees remained signed up, within the expected range of 80 percent to 90 percent retention.

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The health care law President Obama signed six years ago was supposed to fix the individual insurance market with enlightened rules and regulations. Instead, ObamaCare is destroying this market. Just look at what’s happening to Blue Cross Blue Shield.

If any insurer could cope with ObamaCare, it should have been Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Blue Cross companies came into the ObamaCare exchanges with decades of experience writing individual policies. Most of them are non-profits, which gives them an automatic leg up on the competition. And their plans captured the largest share of the exchange markets across the country.

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Two major health insurers in Arizona are discontinuing Obamacare plans in part of the state next year.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Health Net will stop selling plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces in the city of Maricopa and Pinal County, dropping coverage for tens of thousands of enrollees, according to new state filings reported by the Arizona Republic.

Additionally, Health Net is scaling back its Obamacare offerings in Pima County, selling only mid-level silver and gold marketplace plans.

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Nearly 22,000 Ohioans — more than one-third of whom live in the Columbus area — have until Thursday to find a new health insurance plan or face being uninsured for most of July.

The Ohio Department of Insurance took over InHealth Mutual, a subsidiary of Coordinated Health Mutual, in May. The health insurance cooperative based in Westerville was set up in 2014 to be a lower-cost option for Ohioans who shop the federally run health insurance marketplace. The state agency is liquidating the company because it ceased to meet the federal requirements for minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

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