July 25, 2014
YOU SAY you'd love premium seats for "The Book of Mormon," the Broadway smasheroo musical comedy that Tuesday begins a seven-week run at the Forrest Theater, but you simply can't swing (or justify) paying hundreds of dollars for a perch near the stage? Well, how does $27 sound? That's right, $27. Total. Heck, that's usually what you fork over for the laughably larcenous "fees" that are usually extorted from live entertainment consumers by ticketing agencies. And, no, they aren't counterfeit.
June 25, 2014 |
The Obama administration has given employers a reprieve from the mandate that they offer their workers insurance at low employee premiums or pay a penalty. The enforcement is postponed until 2016. But should the mandate ever come back? Even strong supporters of the Affordable Care Act are divided. David Blumenthal, of the Commonwealth Fund, says the mandate on employers is needed to compel them to honor their "shared responsibility" to pay their workers' premiums. Tim Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University and a leading backer and interpreter of the complex ACA rules, says the mandate has too many adverse side effects and should be "repealed and replaced" by something else.
June 9, 2014 |
When it comes to health insurance, Anthony Capone considers himself "on top of this stuff. " So in 2013 when the Mount Laurel businessman turned 65, he pored over Medicare Advantage plans, even visiting a Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield store to talk details. He eventually bought a Horizon no-premium Medicare Advantage plan. He liked the policy so much he persuaded his then-89-year-old mother to ditch her plan and go with Horizon. So in the fall, Capone was primed to renew during open enrollment until he saw that his no-premium insurance had removed the "no. " The 2014 version of the plan came with a monthly premium of $153.70.
January 26, 2014 |
Janice Churchill went to Bright Hope Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Day to proclaim the word. Not the one preached on Sunday. The word about the Affordable Care Act. "I am one of those people who didn't have insurance," said Churchill, 54, a home health aide who had been uninsured for three years until she bought a plan on the ACA marketplace. "It's great, just great that I have insurance. " Churchill was at Bright Hope on Monday to help launch a four-state initiative - in Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and Texas - aimed at increasing ACA awareness in the African American, Latino, and gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT]
December 20, 2013 |
Tens of thousands of low-income Pennsylvanians would pay higher premiums in 2015 under Gov. Corbett's proposed Medicaid expansion than they would in 2014 for similar policies on the Affordable Care Act exchange. Some health-policy experts are concerned about the disparity, although coverage through Corbett's private-market alternative in most cases would still be cheaper, because there are virtually no out-of-pocket costs. The far bigger issue, they say, is adding any premiums at all, even starting at the proposed $13 for individuals earning as little as $479 a month.
November 24, 2013 |
Almost two months after its inglorious rollout, the healthcare.gov website appears to be slowly recuperating. But even if it is 80 percent healed by November's end, as some public statements suggest, it likely won't be the promised seamless shopping experience where consumers can compare plans and prices and see if they qualify for premium and cost-sharing subsidies. Several websites have stepped into the breach and are helping consumers unravel the differences among the various health insurance policies.
November 10, 2013 |
Some people - likely those close to the federal poverty level - will be able to find insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace that are free. That's because subsidies help cover the costs, and they rise for poorer applicants. As many as 715,000 Pennsylvanians - or more than half of commonwealth residents shopping for insurance on the marketplace - are eligible for subsidies, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. But navigators, insurers, and industry analysts are urging people to consider their overall needs carefully before choosing a plan and not to be seduced by the idea of no or very low monthly premiums.
October 13, 2013 |
Everyone was asking about premiums in the months before the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. But many people are mistaken if they think the premium represents the bottom-line cost of health insurance. It doesn't. Yes, the premium price is key. But it shouldn't necessarily be the decisive factor when shopping in the new marketplace. To find the real annual cost, add up the out-of-pocket costs, drug selection, and other parts of the drug benefit. "People should not be making decisions to buy a plan based on premiums alone," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-policy research and communication group.
September 26, 2013 |
Federal officials on Tuesday shared the most detailed information yet on rates consumers can expect to see when the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges go live next week. The average monthly premium for the lowest-cost "bronze" individual plans will be $229 in Pennsylvania (among the lowest in the nation) and $333 in New Jersey (among the highest), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tax credits that are expected to apply to most purchasers would substantially lower rates in both states.
September 2, 2013 |
Will low-income Pennsylvanians be tempted to overstate their income to the IRS in order to afford health insurance? The state's rejection of Medicaid expansion for its poorest citizens creates this perverse incentive. The Affordable Care Act was set up to provide free Medicaid to more poor Americans. It also offers premium subsidies on a sliding scale for the uninsured with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. These subsidies are tax credits the IRS will pay in advance to health insurers for qualifying individuals.