Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new county-level enrollment data revealing how many Americans had picked plans on the health insurance marketplaces. This new data also includes information on a number of key factors: consumers’ age, race/ethnicity, income, financial help received, metal level of plan selected, and new or renewal customer status. The maps show the distribution of consumers in a state who enrolled in marketplace plans in the 37 states that used HealthCare.gov as an enrollment platform during the 2014 open enrollment period. The map is interactive, and clicking on a county within a state displays more information on the number and proportion of consumer who enrolled there.Details
American families, promised they would save $2,500 a year on health insurance premiums, are bracing themselves to see just how much their costs will increase again next year.
Health insurers across the country are seeking premium increases of 20% to 40% or more. Some carriers requested only modest increases, largely because they priced premiums in line with expected medical expenses in the first year. But many others found enrollees are sicker and more costly than anticipated.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico requested a 52% increase for 2016 individual plans, but the hike has been denied by the state’s insurance regulator.
President Obama is jawboning regulators to lower rates, but that can only go so far when plans face multimillion dollar gaps between premium income and claims payments.Details
Decades later, my dad and I can laugh about this story, but only because he was able to step up and pay for the repair, and I did indeed make good on payday.
But they’re not laughing about this on Capitol Hill. At least five states took federal money to build Obamacare state exchanges, then had to close or abandon the exchanges when they failed to work. And now, as some of the contractors responsible for those failures are being forced to make good, the states want some of that money.
Oregon is right now paying $650 per hour to a law firm with connections to former Gov. John Kitzhaber, who resigned in disgrace partially over the state’s health exchange debacle, to pursue a lawsuit against Oracle its own attorneys say it has little chance of winning. Why?Details
Obamacare continues to be haunted by its complexity.
The federal insurance exchange created under the health law doesn’t effectively verify critical information about applicants’ income and citizenship—information that is used to determine whether an applicant qualifies for federal subsidies—according to a new report by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General.
It’s the latest confirmation of continuing technical troubles for the health care law, and yet another indication of how difficult it’s proving to get the law to work as intended.Details
Some consumers who got health coverage or subsidies through HealthCare.gov might not have been eligible to receive them last year because of deficiencies in the federal exchange’s internal controls, according to a government report likely to further stoke Republican criticism.
Not all the internal controls were effective in determining if applicants were properly eligible for health insurance or subsidies, the Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General concluded in a report released Monday. It also found problems resolving inconsistencies between some applicants’ information and federal data.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which implements the health law, said the report examined the first open enrollment period in 2014. The agency said it was aware of the majority of the technology issues during those early days and corrected them prior to the inspector general’s report.Details
About 1.8 million households that got financial help for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law now have issues with their tax returns that could jeopardize their subsidies next year. Administration officials say those taxpayers will have to act quickly.
“There’s still time, but people need to take action soon,” said Lori Lodes, communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs HealthCare.gov.Details
On the 9th floor of a glassy high rise in downtown Washington, partitions are coming down to make more room for workers handing out billions of dollars in Obamacare-funded research awards.
Business has been brisk at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute or, PCORI, as it is known. The institute was created by Congress under the Affordable Care Act to figure out what medical treatments work best — measures largely AWOL from the nation’s health care delivery system.Details
Much has been said about the formularies, cost-sharing, and patient burden required of enrollees on the ACA health insurance exchanges. Deductibles averaged nearly $3,000 for silver plans on the exchanges, and cost-sharing for specialty drugs can often reach 40 percent or higher. None of this is new, and this is a trend going on outside of the exchanges, in the employer-sponsored market as well. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, employer plans now have deductibles averaging over $1,000 and a small, but growing share of plans use coinsurance rather than copays even for physician visits. Fundamentally, this means that patients are more involved in their health care decision-making.Details
As pressure mounts on state-run public health insurance exchanges to be financially self-sufficient in time for 2016, consumer operated and oriented plans created under the Affordable Care Act face the same challenge. And with two recent troubling developments in the CO-OP space, there are renewed questions about the long-term viability of these nonprofit entities that seek to compete with commercial carriers that offer plans on the public exchanges.Details
Three Republican senators have sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expressing concern for the “lack of oversight for more than $1 billion in federal grants” given to state-based marketplaces.
In the letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, the senators — Orrin Hatch of Utah, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and John Barrasso of Wyoming — note a handful of state-based exchanges have switched to the federal marketplace, run by CMS, and inquire if the agency will seek reimbursement for funds the states received from CMS to set up a state-based marketplace.Details