‘In a line that says a lot about where health care is heading under Obamacare, an insurance executive offering plans through the law was quoted in the New York Times on Tuesday as saying, “We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has.”’

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“That brings up a question I’ve been pondering: Why did the Barack Obama administration put exchanges, and particularly state-based exchanges, at the heart of the operation? Billions have now been spent setting them up, and they will cost more money to run — more than some of these states can really afford”

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“According to a new Avalere Health analysis, 17 of the 26 states that did not expand Medicaid in the first three months of 2014 still reported growth in Medicaid enrollment, ranging from 0.1 percent in Texas to 10.1 percent in Montana. Since these states had decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility levels under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these numbers show the impact of the “woodwork effect,” which is when individuals who were previously eligible, but not enrolled in Medicaid, newly sign up as a result of increased outreach and awareness. These enrollees may place a strain on state budgets, since states are required to contribute to the cost of their coverage based on traditional Medicaid matching rates.”

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“Even states that refused Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion are seeing enrollment growth in the health-care program, according to a new analysis.
Medicaid enrollment in 17 of the 26 states that hadn’t expanded Medicaid as of the end of March saw their rolls increase by a combined 550,300 new beneficiaries, reports the Avalere Health consulting firm.”

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“The national debate over the Affordable Care Act seemed an unlikely topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors — especially since the item on the agenda was whether to reappoint a longtime member of the local water authority.

Yet the law was what the supervisors focused on, specifically a letter to members of Congress written last fall by water board veteran Burton J. Rubin, warning that the insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act would cause the water authority to stop insuring its employees.”

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“Enrollment in California’s healthcare program for the poor has soared as the state implements President Obama’s federal overhaul, pleasing advocates who have sought expanded coverage but also presenting new costs for the state.

Nearly one-third of California’s total population — roughly 11.5 million people — will be enrolled in Medi-Cal next year, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

Enrollment is expected to exceed previous estimates by 1.4 million, and administration officials said it would cost the state $1.2 billion more than originally thought.”

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“The first Obamacare enrollment period barely just ended, and it’s already time for insurers in some states to file information on premiums for 2015. The 2014 rate filings last year became major political stories in a non-election year, so it’s safe to assume the same will happen this year. And the 2015 rates will give us a glimpse into the future of the health-care industry.”

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“Conservatives have long argued that “first dollar” insurance coverage helps raise the cost of health care, as people tend to overconsume services they perceive as free. Implementation of state insurance exchanges appears to confirm that hypothesis: Several states that used “free” federal dollars to build complicated exchanges may end up scrapping them.”

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“The first thing Michelle Pool did before picking a plan under President Barack Obama’s health insurance law was check whether her longtime primary care doctor was covered. Pool, a 60-year-old diabetic who has had back surgery and a hip replacement, purchased the plan only to find that the insurer was mistaken.”

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‘Paul Siperke is the co-owner of Fat Head’s, a popular brew pub in Cleveland. He has fewer than 50 full-time employees, so he’s classified under the Affordable Care Act as a small business. He doesn’t have to provide health insurance to his employees, but that’s what he’s been doing since the bar opened in 2009, despite some pretty dramatic volatility in rates.

“They just seemed to keep going up every year,” he says. “One year we got a 38 percent increase, another year we got 11. One year we got three.”‘

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