Access Health CT

Access Health CT

Open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act begins this Saturday. By the state's calculations, the first year of Obamacare cut the number of uninsured in Connecticut in half. Of those who remain, remove the roughly 70,000 people who won't ever enroll in health insurance, and that leaves about another 70,000 to go. 

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The state’s health insurance marketplace has been congratulated for its success in getting individuals enrolled, but insurance brokers say small businesses aren’t signing up. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

With open enrollment for the next round of the Affordable Care Act just three months away, the Department of Health and Human Services has a picked a new CEO for healthcare.gov, and he comes from Connecticut.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

According to new data from Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, the state’s uninsured rate has dropped by roughly 50 percent since 2012 This decrease is due, in part, to the more than 256,000 residents who’ve signed up for health insurance and Medicaid since Access Health CT’s exchange website was launched last fall. 

A Gallup poll released Tuesday suggests the Affordable Care Act is significantly increasing the number of Americans with health insurance, especially in states that are embracing it. It echoes previous Gallup surveys, and similar findings by the Urban Institute and Rand Corp.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

More than half of the state residents who signed up for new insurance under the Affordable Care Act didn't have insurance beforehand. That's according to new data released Wednesday by Access Health CT -- the state's health insurance marketplace. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The Affordable Care Act is about insuring the uninsured. Insurance is one thing, but actual access to a doctor or a provider is another.

One variable plays an important role in determining the quality of care that patients will get: how much doctors are paid. 

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Should the federal government help Americans pay for their new health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act? That's a question being tackled in courts across the country. Two of them have issued very different rulings. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

One dollar and 22 cents. That's how much Access Health CT, the state's health insurance marketplace, pays its call center operator for each minute it spends on the phone helping someone navigate the Affordable Care Act.

It's also a number that Maximus, the call center operator, has tried to keep from public disclosure for months.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling on the Coast Guard to restrict the number of times it allows a railroad swing bridge over the Norwalk River to rotate open. In a letter to the Coast Guard, Blumenthal says the bridge failed 16 times in 271 openings during 2013. Governor Malloy held a “Crisis Summit” earlier today to discuss the problem.

Health Exchange Worker Comes Forward After Data Breach

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Connecticut's health insurance exchange said the owner of a backpack found on a Hartford street containing Social Security numbers and other data works for a call center vendor, and has been placed on administrative leave. 

Access Health CT

A new poll by a non-profit working to get people health insurance coverage say that a lack of understanding hindered Obamacare enrollment for at least one demographic groups: Latinos. 

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Results of the Connecticut Heath Care Survey were released on Wednesday. On the surface, the numbers pretty look good: 91 percent of the 4,608 adults surveyed reported having health insurance, and 87 percent said their health is good to very good.

State officials announced today at Hartford’s Insurance and Finance Academy--that Connecticut’s high school graduation rate increased for the fourth consecutive year. The gap between graduation rates of black and white students, Hispanic and white students, and also among affluent and poor students  also narrowed.

Political Parties Holding Nominating Conventions

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One part of the Affordable Care Act has become less affordable: call centers. Maximus, the company that runs the phone banks to enroll people in Connecticut, originally said it would charge the state $15 million over roughly three years.

The state now says the cost of that contract could nearly double. 

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The company that got the multimillion-dollar contract to run the call centers for the health care exchange Access Health CT -- called Maximus -- is refusing to release invoices and contracts to show exactly how much they are paid by the state. 

A key lawmaker in the Connecticut General Assembly is embracing a White House proposal to loosen restrictions on tolling federal interstates.  Rocky Hill state Representative Tony Guerrera-- a co-chairman of the legislature’s Transportation Committee-- says that tolls are the answer to Connecticut’s declining gas tax revenues. He said it would also allow the state to reduce its high taxes on gasoline.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Now that the deadline for enrollment in Obamacare has passed, the head of Connecticut's health insurance exchange has said he learned a few lessons.

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Connecticut's Obamacare enrollment website did well enough this year to attract the interest of other states. Officials from Access Health CT said they are finalizing a deal with the state of Maryland to share computer code.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

On Tuesday, former Governor John G. Rowland took to the airwaves at his usual time on his WTIC AM talk show, despite being named in federal court as an alleged co-conspirator to a campaign finance scheme. He wouldn't comment on the accusations, only to say, "I am not going to be discussing the recent news and legal developments. I am sure that you all understand. And I want to respect the process."

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President Obama said that more than seven million people have signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Connecticut saw a huge surge in enrollments as Monday's deadline passed. 

Connecticut residents have until midnight tonight to obtain an insurance plan and avoid a federal tax penalty. Residents without health coverage can shop and compare plans at accesshealthct.com. Anyone who remains uninsured when the deadline expires will face a penalty of either 1 percent of the family's gross household income or $95 for each uninsured individual -- whichever amount is greater.

Courtesy of Access Health CT

With the open enrollment deadline looming, organizations across Connecticut are helping people sign up for health insurance coverage. Health centers are open Monday in many cities, including Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Norwich, and Waterbury, with extra in-person help. 

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As the deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act approaches, the federal government now says it will give some people extra time to enroll. But that change won't apply to people in Connecticut.

Connecticut officials are discussing final efforts to enroll residents in health insurance plans before next week’s deadline. Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman appeared at the First Choice Health Center in East Hartford today along with Kevin Counihan, CEO of the state’s insurance marketplace, Access Health CT.  Those who don’t sign up will have to pay $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Officials say enrollment in the state's health insurance marketplace is surging as the March 31 deadline to sign up approaches. 

Mike Dunn stands inside a store in downtown New Haven, looking through the big glass windows at his future customers outside. He's not selling phones or food or clothes. He's selling Obamacare.

There's one week left to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and states have gone to great lengths to enroll as many people up as possible. In Connecticut, the exchange has opened two retail storefronts where people can walk in and sign up.

Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti sent his 100-day plan to state Transportation Commissioner James Redeker on Monday. Giulietti is promising to rebuild a culture of safety at Metro-North to serve as the railroad’s "unshakeable foundation." He agreed to a 100-day plan to improve the railroad’s safety and operational performance in meeting with Governor Dannel Malloy last month.

Access Health CT

We recently told you about the challenge of getting a Spanish language enrollment website up and running for the state’s Obamacare agency, Access Health CT. Now, it appears that site is live

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.

But what's happening in the 14 states that are running their own exchanges?

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