Research shows an array of questions shared by in-person assisters, local navigators and certified application counselors to the Assister Help Resource Center (AHRC) from November 2015–January 2016. AHRC fielded nearly 1,400 calls during this period pertaining to complex health insurance application filings; eligibility determinations; and enrollment scenarios.The topics of the calls AHRC fielded were:

  • 40% eligibility for financial assistance,
  • 15% how to project income,
  • 11% account creation issues, and
  • 6% changes in circumstances.

The researchers say that the questions paint a picture of complex eligibility and enrollment processes, and could lend valuable insight in preparation for the fall open enrollment period, beginning November 1.

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The Obama administration’s continuing efforts to rewrite and re-interpret the legal requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) hit a new roadblock in federal district court yesterday. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled that advance payments to insurers of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies for certain lower-income enrollees in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges were never appropriated by Congress. Oops. She therefore enjoined any further reimbursements until a valid appropriation is in place, but the judge also issued a stay of that injunction pending any appeal by the parties.

The decision in United States House of Representatives v. Sylvia Matthews Burwell, et al. is a big win for House Republicans, other Obamacare opponents, and the rule of law. It also signals at least the outer limits of the Obama administration’s repeated efforts to stretch implementation of the 2010 law far beyond legal norms and the plain meaning of the ACA’s statutory text.

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The Department of Justice will appeal a federal judge’s ruling in a lawsuit from House Republicans against the Obama administration.

A spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry asking when the department would file an appeal. A district judge for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday that the administration was improperly funding cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

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John Boehner isn’t popular with conservatives these days, but the former House Speaker deserves an apology from those who derided his lawsuit challenging President Obama’s usurpation of legislative power. Mr. Boehner went ahead despite skeptics from the left and right, and on Thursday the House won a landmark victory on behalf of Congress’s power of the purse.

Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer handed down summary judgment for the House, ruling that the executive branch had unlawfully spent money on ObamaCare without congressional assent. Judge Collyer noted that Congress had expressly not appropriated money to reimburse health insurers under Section 1402 of the Affordable Care Act. The Administration spent money on those reimbursements anyway.

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Tens of thousands of Iowans who buy their own health insurance are about to receive a shock in the mail.

Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield is sending letters this week telling about 30,000 customers it plans to raise their premiums by 38 percent to 43 percent next year.

Wellmark sells about three-quarters of individual policies in Iowa’s health-insurance market. The steep increases will affect people who bought relatively new plans that comply with rules of the Affordable Care Act.

Another 90,000 Wellmark customers who hold older individual insurance plans are expected to face smaller increases, which will be announced in June. The increases being proposed this week also don’t affect the hundreds of thousands of Wellmark customers who obtain coverage via their employers. Their premiums are expected to rise less, because they are in larger, more stable pools of customers.

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