Julie Rovner http://wkar.org en Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While http://wkar.org/post/obamacare-success-we-might-not-know-while After months of focusing on how many people have or haven't signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone's keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:40:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 52246 at http://wkar.org Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While Lessons Learned For 2015 From This Year's Obamacare Sign-Ups http://wkar.org/post/lessons-learned-2015-years-obamacare-sign-ups President Obama was thrilled last week when he was able to announce that more than 7 million people have signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.<p>"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," the president <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/01/remarks-president-affordable-care-act">said in the Rose Garden</a>. "It's working."<p>But that's not to say it couldn't work better. Among those suggesting ways to help is the consumer group <a href="http://familiesusa.org/">Families USA</a>. Wed, 09 Apr 2014 07:33:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 51899 at http://wkar.org Lessons Learned For 2015 From This Year's Obamacare Sign-Ups Glitches Return To HealthCare.Gov As Enrollment Clock Expires http://wkar.org/post/glitches-return-healthcaregov-enrollment-clock-expires The last day of sign-ups for health insurance on the HealthCare.gov website is turning out to have a lot in common with the first: lots of computer problems.<p>But there are some big differences, too. Mon, 31 Mar 2014 18:47:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 51468 at http://wkar.org Glitches Return To HealthCare.Gov As Enrollment Clock Expires Obamacare's National Enrollment Looks OK, But States Matter More http://wkar.org/post/obamacares-national-enrollment-looks-ok-states-matter-more With this year's deadline to register for individual health insurance just a weekend away, much attention is being lavished on two numbers — the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/27/295311611/obamacare-enrollment-exceeds-6-million">6 million Americans</a> who have signed up so far, and the percentage of those folks who are (or aren't) young.<p>But experts say the<em> national</em> numbers actually don't mean very much.<p>"These are really state-based markets," says Caroline Pearson, vice president at <a href="http://avalerehealth.net/">Avalere Health</a>, a consulting firm b Fri, 28 Mar 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 51336 at http://wkar.org Obamacare's National Enrollment Looks OK, But States Matter More That Health Insurance Deadline Now Comes With Wiggle Room http://wkar.org/post/health-insurance-deadline-now-comes-wiggle-room We're just five days away from the March 31 deadline to sign up for individual health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. For weeks, administration officials, including the president, have insisted that there would be no extensions to the scheduled end of the six-month open enrollment period.<p>But now there's some wiggle room. Let's review, shall we?<p><strong>Start with the key question: Is Monday still the deadline?</strong><p>Yes. Next Monday, March 31, is the last day for most individuals to sign up for health insurance for 2014 through the health exchanges or outside of them. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 20:25:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 51255 at http://wkar.org That Health Insurance Deadline Now Comes With Wiggle Room Most People Don't Know The Health Insurance Deadline Looms http://wkar.org/post/most-people-dont-know-health-insurance-deadline-looms Next week is the last chance for most people without insurance to sign up for individual health coverage for the remainder of 2014.<p>Yet according to the <a href="http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-march-2014">latest monthly tracking poll</a> from the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 60 percent of those without coverage still don't know that.<p>The survey, conducted between March 11 and 17<sup>th</sup>, found that 39 percent of the uninsured between ages 18 and 64 did know that March 31 is the <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">deadline</a> to sign up Wed, 26 Mar 2014 10:03:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 51219 at http://wkar.org Most People Don't Know The Health Insurance Deadline Looms Final Call For Questions On Health Insurance As Deadline Looms http://wkar.org/post/final-call-questions-health-insurance-deadline-looms There's just one week left for most people to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. And as people race to meet the deadline, they still have questions about the law, and the sign-up process.<p><strong>"Is there a deadline to enroll in a health plan?" asks Josephine Ilog of Manteca, Calif. "And what happens if a person misses that deadline?"</strong><p>The deadline for this open enrollment period is next <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">Monday, March 31</a>. Mon, 24 Mar 2014 07:24:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 51096 at http://wkar.org Final Call For Questions On Health Insurance As Deadline Looms Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan http://wkar.org/post/insurance-chief-suggests-adding-new-lower-level-health-plan Rather than letting people keep their old health plans that don't comply with the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the head of the group that represents the nation's health insurance companies is floating an alternative: weakening the requirements.<p>"If you take 10 categories of coverage," said Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of <a href="http://www.ahip.org/">America's Health Insurance Plans</a>, in an interview taped for <a href="http://www.c-span.org/video/?318396-1/newsmakers-karen-ignagni">C-SPAN's Newsmakers</a>, "no matter how meritorious each and every one of those benefit Fri, 21 Mar 2014 22:27:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 51032 at http://wkar.org Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan House Passes Payment Fix For Medicare Docs, But At What Cost? http://wkar.org/post/house-passes-payment-fix-medicare-docs-what-cost Bipartisan support dissolved this week for compromise legislation that would have fixed a longstanding problem with the way Medicare pays physicians. Sat, 15 Mar 2014 10:03:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 50688 at http://wkar.org House Passes Payment Fix For Medicare Docs, But At What Cost? You Might Pay A Lot More Than $95 For Skipping Health Insurance http://wkar.org/post/you-might-pay-lot-more-95-skipping-health-insurance 2014 is the first year most Americans will have to either have health insurance or face a tax penalty.<p>But most people who are <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/02/18/ACA-Awareness-Lacking-Among-Low-Income-Uninsured">aware</a> of the penalty think it's pretty small, at least for this first year. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 07:41:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 50518 at http://wkar.org You Might Pay A Lot More Than $95 For Skipping Health Insurance Young People Lag Behind In Health Insurance Enrollment http://wkar.org/post/young-people-lag-behind-health-insurance-enrollment With 20 days left for people to sign up for private health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the number of people who have completed that task rose to 4.2 million through the end of February, the Obama administration <a href="http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2014/MarketPlaceEnrollment/Mar2014/ib_2014mar_enrollment.pdf">reports</a>.<p>While the 943,000 people who signed up in February through the federal <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">HealthCare.gov</a> site or a state health exchange is slightly less than the <a href="http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/enrolltargets_090 Tue, 11 Mar 2014 21:00:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 50493 at http://wkar.org Young People Lag Behind In Health Insurance Enrollment As Health Law Takes Hold, Rate Of Uninsured Falls http://wkar.org/post/health-law-takes-hold-rate-uninsured-falls Since the Affordable Care Act kicked in fully, the percentage of Americans without health coverage has fallen to its lowest point in five years.<p>In the last quarter of 2013, just before the federal health law took full effect, 17.1 percent of Americans reported they lacked health insurance, according to <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/167798/uninsured-rate-continues-fall.aspx">a Gallup survey</a>.<p>When the survey was taken (between Jan. 2 and Feb. Mon, 10 Mar 2014 21:34:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 50443 at http://wkar.org As Health Law Takes Hold, Rate Of Uninsured Falls FDA To Increase Access To Generic Morning-After Pills http://wkar.org/post/fda-increase-access-generic-morning-after-pills The Food and Drug Administration has decided to allow generic versions of the most popular form of emergency contraceptive pills to be sold over the counter, without age restrictions, after all.<p>Last July, after a decade-long battle and under court order, the FDA <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/06/11/190684947/fda-oks-prescription-free-plan-b-for-all-ages-ending-battle">removed the age restriction on sales</a> of Plan B One-Step, which can prevent most pregnancies if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex for women who weigh <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/26 Sun, 02 Mar 2014 12:33:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 50085 at http://wkar.org FDA To Increase Access To Generic Morning-After Pills As Deadline Nears, State Insurance Exchanges Still A Mixed Bag http://wkar.org/post/deadline-nears-state-insurance-exchanges-still-mixed-bag With a bit more than a month left for people to sign up for health insurance plans set up under the Affordable Care Act, the federal website known as HealthCare.gov finally seems to be working smoothly — in 36 states.<p>But what's happening in the 14 states that are running <a href="http://kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/health-insurance-exchanges/">their own</a> exchanges?<p>Some are doing quite well, thank you. Fri, 21 Feb 2014 08:35:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 49666 at http://wkar.org As Deadline Nears, State Insurance Exchanges Still A Mixed Bag Finessing Health Coverage: When To Buy Insurance For A New Baby http://wkar.org/post/finessing-health-coverage-when-buy-insurance-new-baby We're heading into the home stretch to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year. The open enrollment period ends March 31 for most people.<p>But there are exceptions. And they are the subject of many of our questions this month.<p><strong>For example, Diane Jennings of Hickory, N.C., has a question about her young adult daughter, who's currently covered on her father's health insurance. "When she ages out of the program this year at 26, in October," Jennings asks, "she'll have to get her own insurance through the exchange. Mon, 17 Feb 2014 08:39:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 49468 at http://wkar.org Finessing Health Coverage: When To Buy Insurance For A New Baby After January Surge, 3.3 Million Have Enrolled In Obamacare http://wkar.org/post/after-january-surge-more-3-million-have-enrolled-obamacare January was a miserable month for weather, but the wintry blasts in much of the country weren't enough to stop people from shopping for health insurance.<p>More than 1.1 million people signed up for coverage through state and federal health exchanges in January, according to a <a href="http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2014/MarketPlaceEnrollment/Feb2014/ib_2014feb_enrollment.pdf">just-released report</a>, bringing the total to just shy of 3.3 million people.<p>And the percentage of young adults — the coveted demographic considered key to making the insurance pools viable — rose a bit during J Wed, 12 Feb 2014 22:53:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 49299 at http://wkar.org After January Surge, 3.3 Million Have Enrolled In Obamacare Health Law's Employer Mandate Hits Another Speed Bump http://wkar.org/post/aca-employer-mandate-hits-another-speed-bump The Obama administration is, again, delaying implementation of a part of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide health insurance to their workers (or, potentially, face penalties). But this time it's not the entire "employer mandate" that's being delayed (<a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/07/02/198128747/affordable-care-acts-employer-mandate-delayed">as it was in 2013</a>) — just part of it.<p>For most businesses affected by the law (firms with fewer than 50 workers are exempt), the employer provisions will go into effect, as scheduled, on Jan. 1, 2015. Mon, 10 Feb 2014 22:26:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 49185 at http://wkar.org Health Law's Employer Mandate Hits Another Speed Bump Abortions Reportedly Drop To Lowest Rate Since 1970s http://wkar.org/post/abortions-reportedly-drop-lowest-rate-1970s Abortions in the U.S. resumed their downward trend between 2008 and 2011, according to a new study. But its authors say the recent surge of state laws intended to restrict the procedure is likely not the reason.<p>Both the abortion rate and the number of abortions (just under 1.1 million) fell 13 percent, <a href="http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/psrh.46e0414.pdf">according to the Guttmacher Institute</a>, the reproductive health think tank that's been doing the <a href="http://www.wbur.org/npr/18195345">periodic survey</a> of abortion providers since the 1970s. Sun, 02 Feb 2014 22:45:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 48803 at http://wkar.org Rep. Waxman Leaves Behind A Legacy Of Health Laws http://wkar.org/post/rep-waxman-leaves-behind-legacy-health-laws California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, one of the last remaining members of the huge post-Watergate <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2014/01/30/269003155/congressmans-exit-closes-book-on-watergate-babies">class of 1974</a>, is calling it quits at the end of this term.<p>Most people who live outside his Los Angeles district and off Capitol Hill have likely never heard of Waxman. Fri, 31 Jan 2014 08:03:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 48703 at http://wkar.org Rep. Waxman Leaves Behind A Legacy Of Health Laws Key Senate Republicans Offer Their Plan To Replace Obamacare http://wkar.org/post/key-senate-republicans-offer-their-plan-replace-obamacare Republicans have offered a wide array of proposals to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act since it became law in 2010. But few have come with the pedigree of the plan just unveiled by a trio of senior Senate Republicans.<p>The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment Act, or CARE for short, is <a href="http://www.hatch.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/bf0c9823-29c7-4078-b8af-aa9a12213eca/The%20Patient%20CARE%20Act%20-%20LEGISLATIVE%20PROPOSAL.pdf">a proposal</a> being floated by Sens. Mon, 27 Jan 2014 22:24:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 48526 at http://wkar.org Key Senate Republicans Offer Their Plan To Replace Obamacare The Healthy, Not The Young, May Determine Health Law's Fate http://wkar.org/post/healthy-not-young-may-determine-health-laws-fate Now that the problems with the balky <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">HealthCare.gov</a> website are largely fixed, the Obama administration is finally feeling comfortable enough to launch some of the outreach it planned for last fall.<p>Its top target: young adults, specifically those between 18 and 35.<p>Actress and comedian Aisha Tyler and former Los Angeles Laker Magic Johnson are among the celebrity spokesmen. Fri, 24 Jan 2014 22:06:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 48404 at http://wkar.org The Healthy, Not The Young, May Determine Health Law's Fate Legal Loopholes Leave Some Kids Without Dental Insurance http://wkar.org/post/legal-loopholes-leave-some-kids-without-dental-insurance If you think buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has been complicated, just wait. Buying dental coverage on the health exchanges, it turns out, is even more confusing.<p>Dental coverage for children is one of the <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/10-health-care-benefits-covered-in-the-health-insurance-marketplace/">benefits that must be offered</a> under the law. Thu, 09 Jan 2014 08:39:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 47733 at http://wkar.org Legal Loopholes Leave Some Kids Without Dental Insurance Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012 http://wkar.org/post/health-care-costs-grew-more-slowly-economy-2012 Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.<p>The <a href="http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/33/1/67.abstract">annual report</a> from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal <em>Health Affairs</em>, found total U.S. Mon, 06 Jan 2014 22:43:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 47622 at http://wkar.org Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012 Dental Coverage Deciphered, And The Latest On Sign-Up Deadlines http://wkar.org/post/dental-coverage-deciphered-and-latest-sign-deadlines New Year's Day marked the halfway point to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for coverage this year.<p>And after a dismal start, things seem to be going a lot better on the <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">HealthCare.gov</a> website. Federal officials say more than 1 million people enrolled in coverage by the <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=258291561">Christmas Eve deadline</a> for coverage that began January 1.<p>People have until March 31 to purchase a plan, or enroll in Medicaid if you're eligible. Mon, 06 Jan 2014 08:02:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 47576 at http://wkar.org Dental Coverage Deciphered, And The Latest On Sign-Up Deadlines Medicaid Expansion Boosted Emergency Room Visits In Oregon http://wkar.org/post/medicaid-expansion-boosted-emergency-room-visits-oregon Giving poor people health insurance, the belief was, would decrease their dependence on hospital emergency rooms by providing them access to more appropriate, lower-cost primary care.<p>But a study published in the journal <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/01/02/science.1246183">Science</a> on Thursday finds that's not the case. Fri, 03 Jan 2014 09:39:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 47470 at http://wkar.org Medicaid Expansion Boosted Emergency Room Visits In Oregon The Number 6 Says It All About The HealthCare.gov Rollout http://wkar.org/post/number-6-says-it-all-about-healthcaregov-rollout When it comes to health care, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be measured in the millions. That's how many people were expected to sign up for insurance to begin on Jan. 1.<p>But for both supporters and opponents of the law, there's one number that sticks out above all others. Six. That's how many people actually managed to enroll through the federal <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">HealthCare.gov</a> website the first day it opened, Oct. Fri, 27 Dec 2013 08:25:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 47211 at http://wkar.org The Number 6 Says It All About The HealthCare.gov Rollout Feds Drop Mandate For People Whose Insurance Was Canceled http://wkar.org/post/feds-drop-mandate-people-whose-insurance-was-canceled Only hours before the deadline to sign up for health insurance that will begin Jan. 1, the Obama administration has offered people whose plans have been canceled a new option. They can sign up for catastrophic coverage instead.<p>These little-noticed <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/can-i-buy-a-catastrophic-plan/">plans</a> cover only three primary care visits, specified preventive services and medical costs that exceed a catastrophic amounts. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:32:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 46979 at http://wkar.org Congress Poised To Permanently Fix Its Medicare Payment Glitch http://wkar.org/post/congress-poised-permanently-fix-its-medicare-payment-glitch The two-year budget deal approved by the Senate on Wednesday is aimed at preventing another government shutdown.<p>It also includes a familiar annual rider — language to avert a steep pay cut to <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126535110">doctors who treat Medicare patients</a>. But this time might be different, with a fix that lasts. Thu, 19 Dec 2013 08:26:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 46894 at http://wkar.org Congress Poised To Permanently Fix Its Medicare Payment Glitch People Buying Health Insurance Get A Bit More Time To Pay http://wkar.org/post/people-buying-health-insurance-get-bit-more-time-pay There are seven shopping days left until Christmas. But there are just five days until another important deadline — the last day to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act if you want coverage to start January 1.<p>After a slow start, activity on the federal website <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">HealthCare.gov</a> has been heavy all month. And with the deadline approaching, some people are getting worried that they won't get signed up in time.<p>And this being the health care law, it's complicated. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 21:05:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 46886 at http://wkar.org People Buying Health Insurance Get A Bit More Time To Pay HealthCare.gov Now Allows Window Shopping, And A Do-Over http://wkar.org/post/healthcaregov-now-allows-window-shopping-and-do-over One thing that's clear about the relaunch of the troubled HealthCare.gov website is that it can accommodate more people.<p>Federal officials said <a href="http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20131203/IT/312030009/Obama-Healthcare-gov-now-working">more than 1 million users logged in on Monday</a>, and nearly that many on Tuesday.<p>But less attention has been paid to some other upgrades that are also making the site easier for people to use. Thu, 05 Dec 2013 08:16:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 46220 at http://wkar.org HealthCare.gov Now Allows Window Shopping, And A Do-Over