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Rand Corp. Study Of ObamaCARES Effect On Health Insurance: 9.3 Million New Insured And Counting.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Rand’s Obamacare stats: 9.3 million new insureds, and counting

 

By Michael Hiltzik

 

The long-awaited Rand Corp. study of Obamacare’s effect on health insurance coverage was released Tuesday and confirmed the numbers that had been telegraphed for more than a week: At least 9.3 million more Americans have health insurance now than in September 2013, virtually all of them as a result of the law.

 

 

Just the start? President Obama announces preliminary Affordable Care Act signups. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images / April 1, 2014)

Just the start? President Obama announces preliminary Affordable Care Act signups. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images / April 1, 2014)

 

That’s a net figure, accommodating all those who lost their individual health insurance because of cancellations. The Rand study confirms other surveys that placed the number of people who lost their old insurance and did not or could not replace it — the focus of an enormous volume of anti-Obamacare rhetoric — at less than 1 million. The Rand experts call this a “very small” number, less than 1% of the U.S. population age 18 to 64.

 

 

The Rand study was eagerly anticipated in part because of the dearth of hard information from other sources, including the federal and state governments, which are still compiling their statistics and may not have a full slate for months.

 

Rand acknowledges that its figures have limitations — they’re based on a survey sampling, meaning that the breakdowns are subject to various margins of error, and they don’t include much of the surge in enrollments in late March and early April. Those 3.2-million sign-ups not counted by Rand could “dramatically affect” the figures on total insureds, the organization said.

A few other important takeaways:

–The number of people getting insurance through their employers increased by 8.2 million. Rand said the increase is likely to have been driven by a decline in unemployment, which made more people eligible for employer plans, and by the incentives in the Affordable Care Act encouraging more employer coverage. The figure certainly undermines the contention by the healthcare law’s critics that the legislation gave employers an incentive to drop coverage.

–Of the 3.9 million people counted by Rand as obtaining insurance on the individual exchange market, 36% were previously uninsured. That ratio is expected to rise when the late signups are factored in. Medicaid enrollment increased by 5.9 million, the majority of whom did not have insurance before signing up.

–These figures are only the leading edge of a long-term trend. “It’s still early in the life of the ACA,” Rand said. Its experts expect more enrollments “as people become more familiar with the law, the individual mandates increase to their highest levels, the employer mandate kicks in, and other changes occur.” But their bottom line is that the law already has led to “a substantial increase in insurance coverage.”

 

 

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The Obamacare success stories you haven’t been hearing about

 

Last summer Ellen Holzman and Meredith Vezina, a married gay couple in San Diego County, got kicked off their long-term Kaiser health plan, for which they’d been paying more than $1,300 a month. The cause wasn’t the Affordable Care Act, as far as they knew. They’d been living outside Kaiser’s service area, and the health plan had decided to tighten its rules.

 

That’s when they discovered the chilly hazards of dependence on the individual health insurance market. When they applied for a replacement policy with Anthem Blue Cross of California, Ellen, 59, disclosed that she might have carpal tunnel syndrome. She wasn’t sure–her condition was still being diagnosed by Kaiser when her coverage ended. But the possibility was enough to scare Anthem. “They said, ‘We will not insure you because you have a pre-existing condition,’” Holzman recalls.

 

But they were lucky, thanks to Obamacare. Through Covered California, the state’s individual insurance marketplace, they’ve found a plan through Sharp Healthcare that will cover them both for a total premium of $142 a month, after a government subsidy based on their income. They’ll have a higher deductible than Kaiser’s but lower co-pays. But their possible savings will be impressive.

 

More important than that was knowing that they couldn’t be turned down for coverage come Jan. 1. “We felt we didn’t have to panic, or worry,” Holzman says. “If not for the Affordable Care Act, our ability to get insurance would be very limited, if we could get it at all.”

 

Holzman and Vezina are exactly the type of people Obamacare is designed to help–indeed, rescue from the cold, hard world of individual health insurance of the past. That was a world where even an undiagnosed condition might render you uninsurable. Where your insurance could be canceled after you got sick or had an accident. Where your financial health was at risk as much as your physical well-being.

 

These are the stories you’re not hearing amid the pumped-up panic over canceled individual policies and premium shocks–many of which stories are certainly true, but the noise being made about them leads people to think they’re more common than they are.

 

We’ve compiled several alternative examples for this post. They’re anecdotes, sure, just like the anecdotes you’ve been seeing and reading about people learning they’ll be paying more for coverage next year.

 

The difference is that Americans learning that they’ll be eligible for coverage perhaps for the first time, or at sharply lower cost, are far more typical of the individual insurance market. Two-thirds of the 30 million Americans who will be eligible for individual coverage next year are uninsured today, whether because they can’t afford it now or because they’re barred by pre-existing condition limitations, which will no longer be legal. And more than three-quarters will be eligible for subsidies that will cut their premium costs and even co-pays and deductibles substantially.

 

Let’s hear from a few more of them.

 

David Shevlino, 51, is an artist in Delaware. Between the COBRA policy that extends the coverage his wife, Kathy, received at a former job and the bare-bones policy that covers himself and their 15-year-old son, they’ve been laying out $1,000 a month in premiums. Next year they’ll pay $650 a month, after the government subsidy, for a plan through Blue Cross of Delaware that covers the entire family and provides many services that have been excluded up to now.

 

That makes a big difference, especially for Kathy, who is still dealing with injuries she suffered in a cycling accident and that would have made her uninsurable once her COBRA ran out less than a year from now. “She had already been turned down by Aetna and Blue Cross, the very company that will now insure her,” Shevlino says. “This is a really significant thing–to me, the fact that insurance companies could turn you down didn’t make sense in terms of what healthcare is supposed to be for.”

 

And Judith Silverstein, 49, a Californian who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. Her family helps her pay the $750 monthly cost of her existing plan–which she only had because of federal law requiring that insurers who provide employer-based insurance continue to offer coverage if the employer goes out of business, as hers did. Next year she’ll get a subsidy that will get her a good “silver” level plan for $50.

 

For Silverstein that coverage is indispensable. Her case is relatively mild, but MS is a progressive condition that typically has made its sufferers pariahs of the individual insurance market in the past. “I researched the options,” she says. “Nobody’s going to sell you insurance in the individual market if you have MS.” But these customers can’t be excluded or saddled with big premium markups any more.

 

It’s not only recipients of subsidies who are benefiting. Jason Noble, 44, who has his own property management firm in Southern California, found a gold plan that will cover his wife and their three children–a daughter, 9, and 5-year-old twins–for a little less than $1,300 a month. That’s slightly more than they’d be paying next year for their existing Blue Shield plan, but the benefits are much greater, including pediatric dental coverage. Their family deductible will fall from $3,400 to zero. Last year, the family had a health scare that ran them $1,800 in out-of-pocket expenses; a similar event next year would cost them nothing. “It’s definitely a good deal,” Noble says.

 

It’s fair to observe that not all these people are enamored with their enrollment experience. Ellen Holzman found Covered California’s website “definitely clunky,” and she and Vezina are still awaiting enrollment documents from Sharp that they say are well overdue.

 

Brian Sheppard, 58, a self-employed Southern California attorney, says he spent five to seven hours on the website before determining that he could upgrade from the existing Kaiser plan covering him and his wife for an additional $100 a month, but with lower deductibles and prescription costs. He’s still waiting to hear whether he’ll be eligible for a subsidy that would slash his expenses significantly.

 

“I’m persistent, I’m a lawyer, and I found it very difficult to work through that system,” he says. But for him it was worth the effort. “In 2010, when people were being canceled because they got sick, there was all this outrage,” he observes. “People have forgotten that.”

The difficulties of the federal government’s healthcare.gov and some state enrollment websites are real, and have kept hundreds of thousands of Americans, even millions, from enrolling. But many of those who understand the benefits of the Affordable Care Act know that obsessing about the technical glitches is like mistaking the scoreboard for the game.

Political opportunists (like House Speaker John Boehner), exploit near-term difficulties to obscure the tangible benefits the Affordable Care Act will bring to tens of millions of their constituents. When they say “this law has to go,” as Boehner’s spokesman did this weekend, they’re talking about returning people to the era of exclusions for pre-existing conditions. To people learning they’re uninsurable because of injuries from accidents, or chronic diseases, or the sheer bloody-mindedness of insurance company bureaucrats.

Let’s hear Boehner and his people explain to Holzman and Vezina, the Shevlinos, the Nobles, the Sheppards, and Silverstein–and to 20-30 million other Americans like them who might be locked out of the individual insurance market without the law they ridicule as “Obamacare”–how they’d be better off that way.

 

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Read The Full Rand Corporation Report

 

 

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The Latest Hitler Inspired Anti-ObamaCARES Ad By Foster Friess: Hitler finds out he can’t keep his doctor under Obamacare

This is what America has become, The United States Of AmeriKKKa. This idiot posted this “preamble” to his racist anti-Semitic video…

 

Since people were subscribing to my YouTube channel, I felt the pressure to produce, produce, produce! So, here’s another take on “Hitler finds out..” 

 
This time, Hitler learns that he is losing his doctor because Dr Steiner is not in the network for his new health insurance.

 
Also, I would like to apologize to anyone who is, is related to, or knows any proctologists named Feingold. The use of the name Dr. Feingold is not meant to make fun of any individual, except for President Obama.
Make your own Hitler video at http://downfall.jfedor.org/

 

This Crapplefratz is truly a dumbass full of dumbfuckery.

 

 

 

Amazing that something that helps 9.3 million Americans can be hated by AmeriKKKans.

 

 

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How Many Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) Enrollees Were Uninsured? 5.4 Million.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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From The L.A. Times:

 

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A look at how many Obamacare enrollees were uninsured: 5.4 million

 

By Michael Hiltzik

 

Reason to smile again? HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the White House ceremony this week announcing the Obamacare enrollment numbers. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

Reason to smile again? HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the White House ceremony this week announcing the Obamacare enrollment numbers. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

As we observed earlier this week, one of the obsessions of opponents of the Affordable Care Act is the question of how many enrollees in Obamacare health plans already had insurance. The goal is to knock down the latest enrollment numbers by suggesting that most of the 7.1 million people enrolled through the individual insurance exchanges just moved from one insurance plan to another in a waste of time and effort.

 

The real figure probably won’t be known for weeks, even months. But researchers at the Urban Institute‘s Health Policy Center have weighed in with their own estimate. They’re figuring that the ACA has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 5.4 million from the first quarter of 2013 through early March this year.

 

Their estimate is based on data from their March 2014 Health Reform Marketing Survey, which consists of public polling. Their finding is that the uninsurance rate for adults ages 18–64 was 15.2% for the nation in early March, a decline of 2.7 percentage points since September 2013, just before open enrollment on the exchanges began Oct. 1.

 

“This represents a gain in coverage for about 5.4 million adults,” they write.

 

Although the Urban Institute figures aren’t keyed to the enrollment figures, it’s worth observing that if all those newly insureds were among those who signed up on the individual exchanges, that would mean that of the 7.1 million enrollees, 77% were previously uninsured.

 

The researchers say, however, that their figures include people who will receive their insurance from Medicaid, which was expanded in about half the states. (The others refused to take up the federal government’s offer to pick up 90% to 100% of the tab.)

 

In Medicaid-expanding states, the uninsured rate fell by an average of 4% and is now an average 12.4%, according to the survey; in the others, it fell by an average of only 1.5% and is stuck at an average 18%. Thus does ideological opposition to the ACA by Republican office-holders in non-expanding states make suckers of their citizens.

 

The Urban Institute says its figures probably understate the decline in the uninsured ratio for two reasons. First, it doesn’t count the late-March surge of enrollments that brought the exchange total to 7.1 million; second, it doesn’t measure the effect of other ACA provisions, including one allowing adults up to the age of 26 to stay on their parent’s health plans.

 

That said, it’s proper to observe that the debate over how many people were previously insured is something of a red herring. The ACA had several goals — to impose national consumer protection standards on the health insurance industry by eliminating exclusions for preexisting conditions, among other things; slow the growth of healthcare costs; reduce the number of underinsureds (those who were forced because of costs to buy plans with limited coverage); and finally to reduce the number of uninsured people.

 

All those goals, not just the last, have been advanced by the ACA. In addition, it has always been clear that the act is a multi-year project. Judging its success or failure by this one metric of how many uninsured people were signed up in year one doesn’t tell us anything about how it will change healthcare coverage in the U.S. over time.

 

Thank you MICHAEL HILTZIK & The L.A. Times.

 

 

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President Obama: “7.1 Million Americans”

 

 

President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, delivers a statement on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 1, 2014.President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, delivers a statement on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 1, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

 

The President sent the message below to the White House email list this afternoon following his remarks in the Rose Garden, announcing that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces.

 

Didn’t get the email? Make sure you’re signed up for White House updates.

 

 

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Affordable Care Act

April 01, 2014 | 18:13 |Public Domain

 

Following the closing of the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act, the President delivers remarks in the Rose Garden, announcing that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private health coverage.

 

 

 

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Hello everybody,

 

Last night, the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act came to an end.

 

And this afternoon, we announced that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces.

 

7.1 million.

 

That doesn’t count the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their families’ plans. It doesn’t count the millions more who have gotten covered through the expansion of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It doesn’t include the more than 100 million folks who now have better care — who are receiving additional benefits, like mammograms and contraceptive care, at no extra cost.

 

Now, millions of our fellow Americans have the comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re no longer leaving their health and well-being to chance. For many of them, quality health insurance wasn’t an option until this year — maybe because they couldn’t afford it, or because a pre-existing condition kept them locked out of a discriminatory system.

 

Today, that’s changed. And while our long-broken health care system may not be completely fixed, it’s without question a lot better. That’s something to be proud of — and there’s no good reason to go back.

 

Regardless of your politics, or your feelings about the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans with health coverage is something that’s good for our economy and our country.

 

At the end of the day, that is what this law — and the other reforms we’re fighting for, from a 21st-century immigration system to a fairer wage for every American who’s willing to work for it — are all about:

 

Making sure our country lives up to our highest ideals.

 

I am thankful to be your President today, and every day. And I am proud that this law will continue to make life better for millions of Americans in the years to come.

 

Thank you.

President Barack Obama

 

 

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The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES): Whats Ahead.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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From Ms. Lynn Sweet:

 

Obamacare politics: A look ahead

 

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks Monday during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington. He talked about the deadline for people to sign up for the health care under the Affordable Care Act. | Susan Walsh/AP

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks Monday during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington. He talked about the deadline for people to sign up for the health care under the Affordable Care Act. | Susan Walsh/AP

 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney could have been talking about a relationship that soured and then got better. “We were in a bad place in October and November,” he said at the Monday White House briefing.

 

 

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Press Briefing

March 31, 2014 | 1:01:00 |Public Domain

 

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

He was referring to the botched Obamacare October rollout, when health insurance enrollment opened for the first time under the Affordable Care Act.

 

Carney was all upbeat about Obamacare hours before the midnight Monday deadline to enroll, despite glitches at the Healthcare.gov website. Procrastinators triggered record traffic and enrollments at Healthcare.gov and at call centers.

 

So much traffic that Healthcare.gov crashed for a time Monday morning and in the afternoon — but nowhere as bad as last October, when the site just did not work.

 

“It speaks to the determination of the president and his team to get it right that we are where we are,” said Carney. More than 6 million have enrolled at state and federal exchanges, close to the 7 million Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in September would be a success.

 

To spur the stragglers, Vice President Joe Biden talked up enrolling on the “Rachael Ray Show”; Sebelius did a string of interviews in targeted markets, and White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett did 21 radio spots on Monday. John Legend was among the celebs the White House encouraged to tweet.

 

The deadline actually is elastic. All people had to do was start the enrollment process by midnight; they could finish it later and not worry about the penalty.

 

Carney used an administration messaging line of the day: “Just like when you vote on election day, if you’re in line and the polls close, you get to vote. And certainly we believe that’s the correct approach when you’re voting, and it certainly should be the correct approach when you’re enrolling in insurance,” he said.

 

And speaking of Election Day:

 

◆ Hitting the 6 million enrollment mark on state and federal exchanges — even if the number is closer to 7 million at the close of this first enrollment period — does not change the fundamental Obamacare political terrain.

 

◆ Democrats can head toward the November elections confident that there is no way Republicans can repeal the Affordable Care Act. It just can’t happen with Democrats controlling the Senate.

 

◆ Just as certain: Hurtling toward the November elections, congressional Republicans, either emboldened by Republican Rep. David Jolly’s Florida special election win in early March or wanting to work their base — will run against Obamacare.

 

“I’ve said many times, the problem was never just about the website — it’s the whole law,” said House Speaker John Boehner. He vowed that “House Republicans will continue to work to repeal this law.”

 

◆ There’s more to the numbers — and it cuts both ways during campaigns.

 

 

The Democrats and the Obama White House can correctly say far more people are impacted by Obamacare than just those who have enrolled for the health insurance.

 

There are youths up to the age of 26 who have been able to stay on their parents’ policies; many more are covered because of the expansion of Medicaid.

 

Republicans can take shots at Obamacare until the administration reveals how many youths have enrolled, because young and healthy customers are needed to keep the health insurance rates from spiking. But if that’s a problem, the impact may not be felt before November, because in the short term rates are set.

 

The GOP can inflict more damage by focusing on the people who had heath insurance policies that were not renewed under Obamacare and employer plans impacted by the law. Even Obama’s biggest fans are not happy about higher premiums some will have to pay.

 

One of the big questions during this enrollment period has been over how many folks have actually paid for their plans, a fact the Obama administration has not released.

 

Sebelius, in a surprise, told Oklahoma’s KWTV in an interview: “What we know from insurance companies . . . it’s somewhere between 80, 85, some say as high as 90 percent, have paid so far. . . . Lots of companies have different timetables for when their new customers have to send their first payment.”

 

A mystery solved, until the next one comes along.

 

Thank you Ms. Lynn Sweet.

 

 

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The President Wants You To Get Covered Today: “Don’t Just Think About It, Just Do It”


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Message from President Obama: Get Covered Today

 

Published on Mar 26, 2014

Time is running out to get health insurance coverage for 2014 at http://HealthCare.gov – open enrollment ends on March 31. If you haven’t signed up yet, get covered today.

 

 

 

There are only 5 days left to get health insurance coverage for 2014 at HealthCare.gov before open enrollment ends on March 31. If you haven’t signed up yet, the President wants you to get covered today.

 

As the President says, “No one’s invincible. We all get sick, or get into accidents. Life happens. But you should never have to worry you’ll lose everything to medical bills. That’s why health insurance is so important.”

 

If you’re not covered, don’t wait any longer — sign up today.

 

And if you already have health insurance, tell your friends, family, and co-workers that they need to get covered, too. VisitWH.gov/GetCovered for tips on how to spread the word.

 


 

Learn more:

 

 

The White House Extends The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) Enrollment Deadline.

 

Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.

 

The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.

 

Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.

 

Obama administration will allow more time to enroll in health care on federal marketplace

 

 

The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.

 

The change, which the administration is scheduled to announce Wednesday, is supported by consumer advocates who want as many people as possible to gain insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. But it’s likely to be criticized by Republicans who oppose the law and have denounced the way the administration is implementing it.

 

Administration officials said the accommodation is an attempt to prepare for a possible surge of people trying to sign up in the final days before the deadline. Such a flood could leave some people unable to get through the system.

 

“We are . . . making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment — either online or over the phone,” said Julie Bataille, director of the office of communications for theCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the federal health-care exchange.

 

The extra time will not be restricted, though, to people who wait until the last minute to try to sign up. Although no one will be asked why they need an extension, the idea is to help people whose applications have been held up because of the Web site’s technical problems, or who haven’t been able to get the system to calculate subsidies to help them pay for coverage.

 

According to a Health and Human Services official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about decisions that have not been made public, an exact time frame for this extension has not been set, and it will depend in part on how many people request it. Nor have officials decided precisely how long people will have to select a health plan after they get the extra time.

 

Starting in about mid-April, people will no longer be able to get extensions through HealthCare.gov. After that, consumers will be able to request one through one of the federally sponsored call centers nationwide. At that point, the grounds for an extension will become narrower, matching rules for special enrollment periods that have existed for the past few months. Those include people who have a new baby, are getting a divorce, lose a job with health insurance or had a technical problem signing up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.

 

Once the narrower rules take effect, people will still be trusted to tell the truth about why they need more time — a method known as “self-attestation.”

 

The new rules are similar to steps being taken — or contemplated — by some of the 14 states that are running their own health-insurance exchanges.

 

Last week, the governing board of Maryland’s exchange, which has been hampered by serious computer problems, decided to let residents complete their enrollments after the March 31 deadline, as long as they had started the process beforehand. Minnesota officials announced this week that they would do the same thing. Oregon’s governor plans to announce a similar plan this week, according to his spokeswoman, and the board of Nevada’s exchange is considering several alternatives, including a special enrollment period.

 

The impact of such leeway, coming in the final days of a sign-up period that began in October, remains unclear. This year’s enrollment period is the first opportunity for Americans who are unable to get affordable insurance through a job to choose whether to enroll in one of the plans offered under the 2010 law.

 

In recent weeks, the White House and its allies have been mounting an intense public relations campaign to motivate people to sign up. Amid signs of increasing interest, federal health officials have privately worried whether HealthCare.gov could withstand an expected last-minute enrollment surge this weekend.

 

Administration officials have adopted an enrollment target of 6 million Americans, forecast this winter by congressional budget analysts. The analysts had lowered their previous prediction of 7 million after problems with HealthCare.gov thwarted many people who attempted to enroll during the fall.

 

Until now, the March 31 deadline has been the date by which most Americans must choose a plan — or risk a government fine in the form of a tax penalty when they file their 2014 taxes next year. The fine will not apply to people who get an extension under the new rules and enroll in plans within the allotted time.

 

The constituency that has been most wary of extra sign-up time has been the insurance industry. Insurance firms selling plans in the new marketplace want to minimize the possibility that people might wait to get coverage until they become sick — a practice that would undermine the central idea of keeping costs in check by balancing people who are expensive to insure with those who are healthy and require little medical treatment.

 

On the other hand, consumer advocates say it is important to give as many people as possible a chance to obtain insurance.

 

“The whole point of the thing is to get people covered,” said Jon Kingsdale, a health-care consultant and former director of Massachusetts’s insurance exchange, which was the first in the country, opening several years before the federal law set up a similar national marketplace. “In the first year, there has been so much confusion, I think it’s only natural there will be people who just don’t feel as if they fully understood what the law was and what they were supposed to do and that the opportunity would close.”

 

The change will be announced Wednesday.

 

 

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The White House Extends The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) Enrollment Deadline.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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White House Extends Obamacare Enrollment Deadline

 

 

From The Washington Post:

 

Obama administration will allow more time to enroll in health care on federal marketplace

 

By Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.

 

The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.

 

Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.

 

Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.

 

The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.

 

The change, which the administration is scheduled to announce Wednesday, is supported by consumer advocates who want as many people as possible to gain insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. But it’s likely to be criticized by Republicans who oppose the law and have denounced the way the administration is implementing it.

 

Administration officials said the accommodation is an attempt to prepare for a possible surge of people trying to sign up in the final days before the deadline. Such a flood could leave some people unable to get through the system.

 

“We are . . . making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment — either online or over the phone,” said Julie Bataille, director of the office of communications for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the federal health-care exchange.

 

The extra time will not be restricted, though, to people who wait until the last minute to try to sign up. Although no one will be asked why they need an extension, the idea is to help people whose applications have been held up because of the Web site’s technical problems, or who haven’t been able to get the system to calculate subsidies to help them pay for coverage.

 

According to a Health and Human Services official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about decisions that have not been made public, an exact time frame for this extension has not been set, and it will depend in part on how many people request it. Nor have officials decided precisely how long people will have to select a health plan after they get the extra time.

 

Starting in about mid-April, people will no longer be able to get extensions through HealthCare.gov. After that, consumers will be able to request one through one of the federally sponsored call centers nationwide. At that point, the grounds for an extension will become narrower, matching rules for special enrollment periods that have existed for the past few months. Those include people who have a new baby, are getting a divorce, lose a job with health insurance or had a technical problem signing up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.

 

Once the narrower rules take effect, people will still be trusted to tell the truth about why they need more time — a method known as “self-attestation.”

 

The new rules are similar to steps being taken — or contemplated — by some of the 14 states that are running their own health-insurance exchanges.

 

Last week, the governing board of Maryland’s exchange, which has been hampered by serious computer problems, decided to let residents complete their enrollments after the March 31 deadline, as long as they had started the process beforehand. Minnesota officials announced this week that they would do the same thing. Oregon’s governor plans to announce a similar plan this week, according to his spokeswoman, and the board of Nevada’s exchange is considering several alternatives, including a special enrollment period.

 

The impact of such leeway, coming in the final days of a sign-up period that began in October, remains unclear. This year’s enrollment period is the first opportunity for Americans who are unable to get affordable insurance through a job to choose whether to enroll in one of the plans offered under the 2010 law.

 

In recent weeks, the White House and its allies have been mounting an intense public relations campaign to motivate people to sign up. Amid signs of increasing interest, federal health officials have privately worried whether HealthCare.gov could withstand an expected last-minute enrollment surge this weekend.

 

Administration officials have adopted an enrollment target of 6 million Americans, forecast this winter by congressional budget analysts. The analysts had lowered their previous prediction of 7 million after problems with HealthCare.gov thwarted many people who attempted to enroll during the fall.

 

Until now, the March 31 deadline has been the date by which most Americans must choose a plan — or risk a government fine in the form of a tax penalty when they file their 2014 taxes next year. The fine will not apply to people who get an extension under the new rules and enroll in plans within the allotted time.

 

The constituency that has been most wary of extra sign-up time has been the insurance industry. Insurance firms selling plans in the new marketplace want to minimize the possibility that people might wait to get coverage until they become sick — a practice that would undermine the central idea of keeping costs in check by balancing people who are expensive to insure with those who are healthy and require little medical treatment.

 

On the other hand, consumer advocates say it is important to give as many people as possible a chance to obtain insurance.

 

“The whole point of the thing is to get people covered,” said Jon Kingsdale, a health-care consultant and former director of Massachusetts’s insurance exchange, which was the first in the country, opening several years before the federal law set up a similar national marketplace. “In the first year, there has been so much confusion, I think it’s only natural there will be people who just don’t feel as if they fully understood what the law was and what they were supposed to do and that the opportunity would close.”

 

The change will be announced Wednesday.

 

Thank you  The Washington Post.

 

 

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Statements and Releases

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on New Hampshire expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act

Today’s passage of Medicaid expansion by the New Hampshire House of Representatives marks a major step forward in ensuring that all Americans, including those in New Hampshire, have access to quality, affordable health care.  New Hampshire’s decision to expand Medicaid is about people, not politics. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act means that 26,000 residents who would otherwise be uninsured will finally have access to affordable coverage, and hospitals and businesses throughout New Hampshire will save on uncompensated care costs.  New Hampshire is joining a growing number of states that have put politics aside to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and we look forward to seeing Governor Hassan sign this important legislation into law.

 

 

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