health care

Affordable Care Act
7:52 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Call Centers Got Big Deals Under Health Law, But How Big?

Do you have questions about the bronze plan?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 5:08 am

Before the Affordable Care Act was even open for enrollment, Viviana Alvarado was already taking calls from people who wanted to know more.

She and about 40 of her colleagues are staffing the phones for Maximus, the company Connecticut has contracted to run its call center.

The government contractors running the troubled HealthCare.gov website have been under intense scrutiny in the past month, but those businesses aren't the only ones being paid to rollout Obamacare.

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Health Care Reform
5:20 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Sweeping Changes to Health Care Delivery Disturb Patient Advocates

A patient has his blood pressure measured.
Credit Lipothymia / Creative Commons

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.

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Connecticut Health I-Team
9:31 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Hospitals Show Financial Gains, But Smaller Facilities Struggle

MidState Medical Center.
Credit Paul Wnek / Creative Commons

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.

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Pingless In Hartford
1:14 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Federal Data Hub Vital for Health Care Enrollment Crashes (Again), Then Recovers

The federal data hub used to verify application information for customers searching for health insurance crashed for the second time this week.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, rfranklinaz

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. 

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Health Care
4:33 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Federal Data Crash Hits Access Health CT

Credit Jason T. Poplin

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.

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Elder Veteran Care
9:15 am
Sun October 27, 2013

Elderly Veterans Must Move After VA Mistake

Some elderly veterans in Connecticut may not want to move out of a place they've called home for several years, said a Congressional delegation.
Credit SSgt Brittany Jones / Creative Commons

An audit found a big mistake by the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. Twenty-three veterans in Connecticut have been living at retirement homes, and the VA has been paying for them to reside there. But according to the VA, it's only authorized to pay for skilled nursing care. Retirement homes or assisted living facilities are not covered.

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Patience for Patients
8:51 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Murphy Urges Patience for Insurance Enrollment

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy on WNPR's "Where We Live" in 2012.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Despite technical problems plaguing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act nationwide, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said the launch in Connecticut has gone better than expected.

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Technology
7:03 am
Thu October 24, 2013

What's A 'Glitch,' Anyway? A Brief Linguistic History

Not all glitches are unintentional and problematic. Glitch art introduces, on purpose, digital typos that would otherwise be edited out in an image.
Kevin Wong Flickr

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:01 am

HealthCare.gov, the faulty website where people can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, has become nearly synonymous with the word "glitch" — sometimes defensively, sometimes mockingly.

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Coming Home Project
9:23 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Veterans Affairs Backlog Drops; Critics Urge More Progress

Senator Richard Blumenthal speaking at the VFW Post in East Hartford. Iraq War veteran Jordan Massa stands behind the Senator.
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Despite the federal government shutdown, there was a decrease this month in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs backlog to process veterans' disability claims. The VA said pending cases dropped by 10,000 since September 28. But this doesn't mean the pressure is off the federal department to do more.

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Affordable Care Act
3:14 am
Tue October 22, 2013

How Politics Set The Stage For The Obamacare Website Meltdown

It all seemed so easy then. Back in June, the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional. Waiting for that decision may have cost the administration precious time.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:23 pm

Since the Affordable Care Act's health care exchanges launched to a long series of error messages Oct. 1, most of the "what went wrong" fingers have been pointing at software developers.

But some say there's more to it than that — that politics has played a role as well.

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Where We Live
4:06 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Delivering by C-Section

Theresa Morris is a professor of Sociology at Trinity College and the author of "Cut It Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America"
Chion Wolf WNPR

Over 30 percent of women deliver their babies by Caesarean section in the United States, a significant increase over the five percent of women undergoing the surgical procedure in 1970, and a change that, overall, has not improved the health of newborns.

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Affordable Care Act
3:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Enrollments For Health Care Exchanges Trickle In, Slowly

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 3:37 pm

The Obama administration's hopes ran high that millions would flock to enroll for health insurance on state and federal exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

Those exchanges went online Oct. 1. The administration projected that half a million individuals or families would enroll within 30 days, according to The Associated Press.

But three weeks in, the data suggest the actual number of enrollments is lagging far behind that number.

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Access Health CT
11:47 am
Fri October 18, 2013

State Health Plan Enrollees Skew Older

Access Health CT estimated early on that about a third of its enrollees would be 35 or younger.
Credit Heptagon / Wikimedia Commons

The latest figures from Access Health CT, the state's health care exchange, show 3,847 have signed up for plans. About half of those will be eligible for Medicaid under the state's Husky program.

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Cerebral Palsy
9:01 am
Fri October 18, 2013

The Distance Between Brothers

Nick ran across the street with an oncoming car down the road, chasing a ball. "It's like I'm going for a death wish," he said.
Christopher Capozziello From "The Distance Between Us"

Photographer Christopher Capozziello has been photographing his twin brother Nick for as long as he's been a photographer. Despite being twins, there was something between them: Nick was born with cerebral palsy. Chris was not. 

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StoryCorps
3:25 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Best Friends, Sharing 'Two Sides Of The Same Heart'

Starr Cookman (left) says she and Kylee Moreland Fenton have been "connected at the hip" since they were kids in Tucson, Ariz.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 12:23 pm

Starr Cookman and Kylee Moreland Fenton have been inseparable since childhood. They live on the same street. Kylee, a nurse, was present for the delivery of Starr's son, Rowan. And when Rowan came home from the hospital breathing rapidly and spitting up his food, both friends were alarmed — even when the pediatrician said he was doing fine.

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Access Health CT
9:03 am
Sat October 12, 2013

So, Who is Signing Up for Obamacare?

Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's been two weeks since enrollment began under the new health insurance law known as Obamacare. First, the numbers. Connecticut has about 344,000 people without health insurance. Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, was designed to lower that number.

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Affordable Care Act
7:36 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Health Insurance Exchanges Suffer Ills Of Geography

Alexandra Dixon is one of 350 "navigators" hired to help people sign up for health insurance in Maryland.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:05 am

These first two weeks have been rocky for the state health insurance exchanges. The online marketplaces opened across the country Oct. 1, with computer glitches and staffing shortages.

Even the states that have agreed to run their own exchanges are having a hard time. In states that have not embraced the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is struggling to fill in the gap.

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Health Care
7:43 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Access Health CT Sees Plenty of Young Enrollments

CEO Kevin Counihan on Access Health CT's opening day October 1.
Credit Christine Stuart / CT News Junkie

Almost a third of those who have signed up on Connecticut's health care exchange so far are in the coveted under-35 demographic. The exchange has been operating for just over a week. By Tuesday, the exchange had processed just over 1,400 applications.

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Where We Live
12:00 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Joycelyn Elders and Dan Savage: Let's Talk About Sex

Joycelyn Elders, speaking in Hartford
Credit Arielle Levin-Becker

Joycelyn Elders is a doctor and a public health administrator and advocate. She was appointed the first African American surgeon general during the Clinton administration -- and then fired from her post  for some frank comments around sex and AIDS prevention. 

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Arts for Healing Festival
9:45 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Hip Hop Play Explores Sickness and Health

Ana, played by Amber Williams, "How To Break"
Collective Consciousness Theatre

The tenth annual Arts for Healing Festival began on Wednesday. Yale New Haven Children's Hospital created the festival to feature art, music, poetry and performances by patients and health care providers.

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Access Health CT
7:29 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Malloy Calls Obamacare Rollout "Historic"

Governor Dannel Malloy and others at a ribbon-cutting for Access Health CT.
Credit Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Connecticut has about 344,000 residents who live without health insurance. The goal of the new law, also known as Obamacare, was to figure out a way to get them covered through private insurers at a reasonable cost.

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It's Hard to Access Health CT
1:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

State's Obamacare Website Struggling on Day One

Kevin Counihan.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Today is the day the uninsured can enroll in the state's new health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act. But technical glitches have hampered the rollout.

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Insuring Employees
10:18 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Connecticut Businesses "Wait and See" on Health Care Exchange

Health care has always been a stumbling block for small businesses. Many want to provide it but found it out of their reach. The new health care law is supposed to change all that, and Connecticut's exchange is ahead of the curve in providing small business plans. Will anyone take them up on the offer?

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Health Care
9:11 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Where We Live: Rolling Out the Health Care Exchange

Kevin Counihan.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Join us while we talk about the new Connecticut health care exchange on Where We Live. Listen live here.

9:11 am: Kevin Counihan, CEO of Connecticut's health insurance exchange, says Access Health CT is up and running. He says plenty of people are visiting the site and it's active. "It's a highly complex implementation," he says, citing lots of support in the state for the health care exchange.

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Health Care
8:01 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Access Health CT Opens Its Virtual Doors

Credit Pete/Comedy_Nose / Flickr Creative Commons

Access Health CT, the state's new health care marketplace, goes live for customers today. Officials are encouraging people shopping for insurance plans to do it online, if possible, to limit paperwork. Officials are also sending workers into the community to work with low-income people who may not have web access, or may not be web-savvy. 

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Affordable Care Act
3:23 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Lessons For The Obamacare Rollout, Courtesy Of Massachusetts

Then-Gov. Mitt Romney signs the Massachusetts health care bill in Boston on April 12, 2006.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 9:23 am

Today marks a milestone on the nation's long march toward universal health coverage: the launch of online marketplaces, called exchanges, designed to help people find insurance they can afford.

It's an idea pioneered by Massachusetts seven years ago. People here call their program a success, and say the state's exchange was an indispensable factor.

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Where We Live
12:00 am
Tue October 1, 2013

The Health Exchange in Connecticut

Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT
Chion Wolf

Today’s the day the new Affordable Care Act kicks into gear.  

The health care reform known as “Obamacare” is creating state exchanges where those without insurance can buy it.  But how do these exchanges work? Who’s eligible and who’s not? What about all the myths, mysteries and misconceptions? How much is it really costing us?

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Affordable Care Act
3:37 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Insurance Exchange 101: Here's What You Need To Know

The audience concentrates on a presentation by Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger's office about the federal health care overhaul at the University of Kansas satellite campus in Overland Park, Kan., earlier this month.
John Hanna AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 9:36 am

The Affordable Care Act has been through two years of legislative wrangling, a presidential election and a Supreme Court test that took it to the brink.

Now, after yet another round of debate and argument, major pieces of the federal health law are expected to kick in Tuesday.

If all goes as planned, people who don't have insurance or who buy it on their own will be able to shop online or at various locations in their communities for coverage that will take effect Jan. 1.

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Health Care
5:35 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Insurance Exchanges Will Open To Scrutiny, Curiosity, Confusion

Workers at a Minnesota health care exchange prepare for opening day on Tuesday.
Jim Mone AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 11:51 am

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Health Care Overhaul
9:36 am
Fri September 27, 2013

With Obamacare, Not Everything Is Public Information

A redacted contractual document from Access Health CT, obscuring information about how much contractor Maximus is paid.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The nation's new health care law rolls out next week. One essential part of that is a call center to both field questions and enroll people. But it's not clear how much the private company taking these calls, Maximus Health Services, is actually charging taxpayers. 

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