They are just three little words — “health savings accounts” — but they are generating a lot of buzz as Republicans contemplate plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Medical Billing Blog
Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell said on Sunday 100,000 people submitted new applications for Obamacare in the first days of the second open enrollment period.
Federal officials on Wednesday released new data about who enrolled in the federal health marketplace plans for 2014, how much the law’s subsidies helped offset the cost and how many plans people from could choose from, among other details.
President Barack Obama celebrated the end of the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period by announcing that at least 7.1 million Americans have signed up for insurance through exchanges. "No, the Affordable Care Act hasn’t fixed our long broken health care system, but this law has made our broken system a lot better," Obama said before a large and happy crowd Tuesday afternoon in the Rose Garden. The tally is based on the number of people who enrolled for coverage by Monday’s deadline through the new federal insurance marketplace operating in three dozen states. It also includes people who enrolled in 14 state-run marketplaces as of the deadline or, in the case of a few states, by last weekend. The Census Bureau estimates that 47 million Americans went without health insurance last year, more than 15 percent of the population. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the administration expects that the final numbers will also show sharply higher enrollment by young adults, though demographic breakdowns by race or age will not be available for days or weeks, and he was unable to say how many of the enrollees were previously uninsured. The law’s impact on the uninsured, he said, was intended to be measured over three years.
Monday is the last day of March and it's also the last day to sign up for insurance through healthcare.gov!
As Monday's deadline to sign up for health insurance or face a penalty approaches, there's plenty of attention on the uninsured. But how about the underinsured? A new report finds that 32 million people were underinsured in the U.S. in 2012, meaning their health insurance didn’t do enough to protect them from major medical costs, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. That makes for 80 million Americans who either have no health insurance at all, or who don’t have enough, the report finds. The Affordable Care Act insurance reforms seek to expand coverage and to improve the affordability of care and premiums.
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a final rule that prohibits employers from requiring employees to wait more than 90 days after being hired before they can be covered by the Company’s sponsored health insurance plan.
The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it has rewritten an array of far-reaching rules under the Affordable Care Act, the most significant of which will let people keep bare-bones health insurance policies for three more years. Americans with health insurance policies that don't meet consumer standards set by the president's healthcare law would be allowed to keep their plans into 2017, three years later than originally envisioned, so that people can buy these noncompliant plans through October 2016 and be covered by them until the following September, when Obama’s tenure in the White House will have ended. The healthcare law was designed to phase out health insurance plans in 2014 if they did not include a basic set of benefits and limits on how much consumers can be required to pay out of pocket for their medical care. After the controversy broke, the administration announced in November that state regulators could allow insurers to renew old policies in 2014. Only about half the states have agreed to the extensions. Some, particularly those with liberal, Democratic insurance regulators, have balked at allowing what they consider substandard plans to remain on the market.
With just a month left for Americans to select health plans this year through new insurance marketplaces, the Obama administration is bending some rules to prevent people from being stranded without coverage, especially those in states where their own state-run online exchange has failed disastrously. The new policy applies to people who — because of “technical issues” — were prevented in trying to buy insurance through an online exchange and signed up for a health plan outside the marketplace. They will now be allowed to sign up for coverage in the exchange and get federal subsidies “on a retroactive basis,” going back to the date on which they first enrolled in a health plan outside the exchange. The state-run exchanges in some of these states — Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts and Hawaii in particular — have experienced more technical problems than even the federal website. Consumers in those states are still having difficulty enrolling five months after the launch. Federal officials said they had agreed to provide such assistance retroactively because technical problems had prevented consumers from using online exchanges to obtain insurance and financial aid in some states. The Obama administration’s decision came as a surprise because the Affordable Care Act is clear: Federal subsidies are available only to people who enroll in a “qualified health plan” through an exchange. The HHS change will allow those who tried to sign up on their state-run exchanges, but couldn’t, to retroactively obtain the subsidies they would have been eligible for, even if they ended up purchasing healthcare through a private insurer. The privately purchased plans must still meet certain basic requirements of the healthcare law.
The federal government may not completely finish the automated payment system for Healthcare.gov for “several months,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday. Until that system is fully running, the administration won’t be able to verify how many of the consumers who signed up for through the health insurance website are, in fact, paying their premiums and are hence truly enrolled. The administration reported earlier in the week that nearly 3.3 million people have selected plans on through the marketplace as of Feb. 1. However, insurance companies are saying that about 20 percent of those people failed to pay their premiums on time and consequently didn’t receive coverage in January, the New York Times reports. Paying the first month’s premium is the final step in completing an enrollment. Under federal rules, people must pay the initial premium to have coverage take effect. In view of the chaotic debut of the federal marketplace and many state exchanges, the White House urged insurers to give people more time, and many agreed to do so. But, insurers said, some people missed even the extended deadlines.