September 15, 2014 |
Young adults are paying as much or more in premiums for the cheapest bronze plans purchased on the Affordable Care Act marketplace as people ages 54 to 64, according to a University of Tennessee Health Science Center study. The study, published online last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the reverse premium age curve - premiums should be cheaper for younger people, who use less health care - is the result of how tax credit subsidies are calculated under the law. It could mean that paying the penalty for not buying insurance as required by the individual mandate would be less than the monthly premiums for those low-premium policies.
September 8, 2014 |
Now that the Obama administration has approved Gov. Corbett's private-market alternative to Medicaid expansion - putting Pennsylvania on track to become the 27th state to provide health insurance for low-income residents under the Affordable Care Act - the next issue is how to let people know. The national advocacy group Enroll America plans to ramp up Chase, its phone-call program that reminds people about enrolling in health insurance. Enroll America found that people were 25 percent more likely to buy insurance on the Obamacare marketplace when they received three follow-up calls.
August 31, 2014 |
For 36 years, Daniel Wilson taught Spanish and English as a second language at Finletter Elementary School in the city's Olney section. He retired two years ago for another position - caregiver for his aging father. "I just couldn't keep up with a full-time job and doing for him," says Wilson, 60. "I'm a housekeeper and a caregiver before I'm anything else at this point. " Retirement meant Wilson needed health insurance. He decided against staying on the Philadelphia School District's Personal Choice or HMO plans through COBRA until he was 65. Instead, Wilson opted to buy Aetna's PA High Deductible 3000 HSA policy.
August 30, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Ending a yearlong negotiation, the Obama administration on Thursday approved Gov. Corbett's alternative Medicaid expansion proposal, a step that could extend health-care benefits to roughly 600,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians. In what was described as a five-year demonstration project, Pennsylvania got the go-ahead to use federal money to pay private insurers to provide health care to uninsured individuals - many in low-wage jobs. The Obama administration praised Pennsylvania for joining other states that opted into the program under the Affordable Care Act. Corbett administration officials called the agreement a successful compromise.
August 27, 2014
A RECENT COLUMN about the importance of getting your Social Security statement prompted a lot of retirement questions from readers. In turn, the questions reminded me just how complicated it is to retire these days. We chide people for not saving enough, but as one reader noted, that's almost the easy part. Trying to understand the many rules, and caveats to the rules, makes planning for retirement so difficult. Readers wanted to know about a plan by Social Security to resume paper statements.
August 18, 2014 |
Shirley Tax spends her days at Chinatown Medical Services fielding questions from patients who bought health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Most of those queries revolve around Independence Blue Cross' best-selling, silver-level Keystone HMO Proactive plan. Tax says patients signed up for the tiered plan without really understanding how it worked. So when they receive a bill they take it to Tax and ask her to explain it. "Most of them didn't have insurance before," Tax, 26, says of her clients, many of whom are immigrants.
August 11, 2014 |
Experts thought if people bought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, they would find a private doctor and stop using hospital emergency rooms for their primary care. Well, more people have health insurance. But they are still crowding into emergency departments across the nation. An online study by the American College of Emergency Room Physicians found that nearly half of its members have seen a rise in visits since Jan. 1 when ACA coverage began. A resounding 86 percent of the physicians said they expect that number to continue growing.
August 4, 2014 |
Seven months after coverage began for people who bought health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, more are now insured and most of the nearly 10 million people who have signed up say they are satisfied with their plans. Yet now a new set of challenges looms. Will the plans be affordable, and will users know how to use tiered networks and other innovations without incurring huge bills? "The law has pretty much met the early benchmarks, but if it stopped here, I don't think anyone would declare it a success," says Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is tracking the law. The law offers new insurance options for the individual market.
August 1, 2014
The latest attack on the Affordable Care Act - a federal court ruling that means the law is likely headed for another showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court - threatens to throw up more barriers to high-quality health care for millions of Americans. The decision, questioning the legality of federal insurance subsidies that are helping low-income workers afford coverage, would gut President Obama's landmark health-care reforms. Sure, the ruling is being decried by some legal experts as an "ultimately nonsensical reading" of the law. And the White House plans to seek a broader review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, whose decision was contradicted by another appeals court ruling on the very same day. As a matter of principle, there is no question that a Democratic Congress, acting without a single Republican vote, intended to put health insurance within reach of most of the nation's 45 million to 50 million uninsured.
July 31, 2014
CONTRADICTORY rulings from two federal appellate courts last week have dragged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act back into legal uncertainty and again put its future in doubt, just as millions of Americans are beginning to realize the law's potential. Muddled language in the health-care law divided the courts. One court focused on a handful of words, the other on the law's broader language and its obvious intent - to provide health insurance to as many Americans as possible.