From Faith Middleton: Our check-up on our health care enrollees reveals Connecticut has one of the nation's most successful exchanges. The state doubled what the Obama administration set as a target for Connecticut—more than 14,000 of us have enrolled in the exchange.
The majority of enrollees are between the ages of 55 and 64, which raises the question of whether the majority are also unemployed.
Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:48 pm
Numbers released by the Obama administration show enrollment in health exchanges edged up in November, but the uptake remains far short of the administration's initial targets.
Roughly 264,000 people signed up for private insurance coverage last month through the federal and state exchanges, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. That brings the total to about 364,000 for October and November.
Undocumented immigrants are expected to make up a larger share of Connecticut’s uninsured population next year, putting new financial pressures on safety-net hospitals that provide emergency care to everyone, state and national health experts predict.
The Affordable Care Act wasn't aimed at people who already get health care through their employers, but it's having such a revolutionary effect on the marketplace, they might end up feeling its effects anyway.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:41 pm
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health plans that offer benefits for mental health and substance use to cover them to the same extent that they cover medical and surgical care.
Among other things, the law prohibits treatment limits and copayments or deductibles that are more restrictive than a plan's medical coverage.
Long before we knew how the cardiovascular worked, ancient doctors may have recognized what we call hypertension. It seemed like maybe there was too much blood, so they treated it with leeches.
Even today, high blood pressure is a little bit mysterious. The way it's typically measured may be the wrong way. And, it's not caused by one single factor so no single drug treats all the things that cause high blood pressure.
While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."
"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."
Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 11:07 am
White House officials say the government's health insurance website, which has been plagued with problems ever since it launched in October, is now working smoothly for most users.
"The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity with greatly improved performance," Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the site, said during a telephone conference with reporters on Sunday. The bottom line, said Zients, is that Healthcare.gov is "night and day" from what it was at launch.
The Obama administration is delaying yet again online signup for small businesses through the Affordable Care Act. The program was intended to make it easier for small employers to provide health insurance to their workers on a more equal footing with big business.
Individuals who've received cancelation notices on their health insurance policies in Connecticut must now find an alternative. Governor Dannel Malloy said he will not allow insurance companies to renew plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act, rejecting President Obama's fix announced last week.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to reduce artificial trans fats in processed foods. According to the agency, the move could help prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year. This means manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants could have to reformulate some of their recipes.
Governor Dannel Malloy said he will not allow insurance companies to renew non-compliant health plans in Connecticut, rejecting President Obama's fix announced last week. The President left it to states to decide whether to adopt his change, which was a response to news that hundreds of thousands of people across the country had received insurance cancelation notices.
According to a union count, Connecticut has nearly 50,000 call center workers, mostly in the telecom industry. A growing sector for this industry is health care, especially after the Obamacare rollout.
In more than half of Connecticut’s emergency rooms, the waiting time to see a health-care provider exceeds the national average of 28 minutes – a problem that experts say could get worse, as thousands more residents obtain health insurance.
The average wait can stretch to an hour or more at Rockville General, Manchester Memorial, Bridgeport, Waterbury and Hartford hospitals, according to a C-HIT review of federal data. The statewide average waiting time is 30 minutes.
When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, large companies will be subject to a penalty if they don't provide coverage for their workers. But life is also changing in unexpected ways for small companies as the health care rollout continues.
Remember when President Obama said, "If you like your health plan you can keep it?" Now it's more like, "If you like your health plan you can keep it — for another year, and only if your insurance company says it's OK."
It's not clear whether the administration's proposal to let insurers extend the policies they've been canceling for the past couple of months will solve the president's political problem. But it's sure not going over very well with the insurance industry.
Connecticut is the only state that has so far enrolled more people in private insurance plans than Medicaid since open enrollment began on October 1. Access Health CT has signed up about 6,000 people in private plans, and about 4,700 in government-funded Medicaid coverage, according to the Associated Press.
At a press conference announcing a new retail health insurance storefront, Governor Dannel Malloy called the rollout of Obamacare in Connecticut a success. But the Democrat said problems with the federal health care website have hurt the state's enrollment.
Students at the Yale School of Medicine spent time last week delivering bad news to patients. Their task was grim: one student told a woman she had breast cancer while another broke the news to a professional athlete that he blew out his knee and would never play football again.
Except there was one catch. The patients were actors, responding in real time to medical students as part of a "bad news" seminar aimed at teaching the skills of patient-centered interviewing.
It's no secret to say that health care has been undergoing radical change in this country. But what's less well-known is that the state of Connecticut is going beyond the current changes in the Affordable Care Act to address the way we deliver care and pay for medical services. And some consumer advocates are disturbed by the results.
Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals ended the last fiscal year in slightly better financial health than in the prior year, with just five of 30 hospitals reporting losses, according to a new state report.
Data filed with the state Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) shows that six hospitals had operating losses in the 2012 fiscal year – the same number as in 2011, but fewer than in 2010. When non-operating gains and losses are included, five hospitals had negative total margins, or deficits – down from eight in 2011.
Update 2:37 pm: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) informed Access Health CT that the outage has been addressed and the system is again operating normally.
1:14 pm: The federal data hub that verifies information for Connecticut residents seeking health care coverage crashed for the second time this week. That meant state customers who were enrolling for health coverage couldn't complete the process.
Connecticut’s health care marketplace is back in business after problems caused by the failure of a federal data hub. The storm of controversy over the federal healthcare exchange has largely left state exchanges like Connecticut’s untouched. Until this weekend.