insurance

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. 

Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

Access Health CT, the state's insurance exchange, said it has now signed up more than 23,000 people for health plans.

Fortnight Journal

Last month, the city of Hartford gave a series of documents to a federal grand jury looking into the business dealings of troubled insurance broker Earl O’Garro. Now, the city has released those documents publicly.

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.

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."

Fortnight Journal

The line of people who want their money from Earl O'Garro continues to grow.

O'Garro is the man at the center of a federal grand jury investigation looking into $670,000 in missing taxpayer money. The city of Hartford paid him to pay its insurance bills, and he apparently never did.  

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.

CT-N

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.

Try this on for size: The Affordable Care Act is good for young adults because it'll save them money on health care, leaving them more to spend on liquor and birth control.

That's one way to interpret the message from a provocative new ad campaign in Colorado. Not everyone is thrilled with it.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

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. 

Heather Brandon / WNPR

Hartford city auditors have said that Treasurer Adam Cloud had an apparent conflict of interest when it came to his family's business relationship with a city insurance broker. But this isn't Cloud's first run-in with the ethics code.

City of Hartford

Earlier this week, we reported that there were unanswered questions about a receipt for a New York City hotel room billed to the city of Hartford. On the reservation were city treasurer Adam Cloud and embattled insurance broker Earl O'Garro -- two men named in a federal investigation into nearly $700,000 in missing taxpayer money.

Now, Cloud's attorney is providing some answers. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

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.

Fortnight Journal

Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie broke news this weekend that Earl O'Garro had been arrested by state police earlier this month.

Darnyi Zsóka / Creative Commons

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.

City of Hartford

Hartford continues to buzz with questions about insurance broker Earl O'Garro, city treasurer Adam Cloud, and nearly $700,000 of missing taxpayer money. Now there are unanswered questions about a 2012 trip to New York City.

HealthCare.gov could barely function on the day the health insurance marketplace debuted, and internal emails show at least some top health officials could see the failure coming.

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.

Fortnight Journal

Earl O'Garro has lost his state insurance license, and his company has lost its license, too.  The state said O'Garro never responded to an extensive eleven-count complaint filed against him last month. As a result, the state has revoked the licenses he and his company held to sell insurance.

Pete Souza / Creative Commons

President Barack Obama will deliver a statement to the nation on Thursday about the Affordable Care Act. His remarks come after a House oversight hearing that focused on technical glitches at the healthcare.gov website.

Watch the address live below.

O'Garro Speaks

Nov 14, 2013

NBC Connecticut's George Colli snagged a one-on-one interview with Earl O'Garro, the man at the center of the federal grand jury investigation in Hartford. It's worth a few minutes of your time.

The Connecticut Mirror

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.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Insurance professionals heard on Tuesday an impassioned plea from the governor to keep regulation at the state level. Hundreds from the industry gathered at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford for an annual market forecast. 

The health care exchanges may be open, but there's no question they're still kind of a mess.

"The rollout has been excruciatingly awful for way too many people," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceded to the Senate Finance Committee last week.

But mess or not, the law is going forward, people are trying to use it, and they have questions. Here are some of yours, and our answers.

Global Jet, Creative Commons

Is Hartford still the insurance capital of the world? I conducted a non-scientific poll of the internet (aka Googled it) and came upon a few articles from the past decades: "Hartford: Insurance Capital of the World or Has-Been?" (ouch), and "Hartford is No Longer the Insurance Capital."

According to the internet, it seems we're doomed. 

Cade Martin, Smithsonian Institute

This summer we covered the Department of Education investigation into Darien’s special ed program. Since then, the superintendent has resigned and the school is dealing with a forensic audit.  Today we’ll check back in with Darien Times reporter David DesRoches for the latest.  

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

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.

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.

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.

City of Hartford

The scope of the federal grand jury investigation involving the relationship between Hartford's city treasurer and an insurance broker continues to grow, as the state has confirmed that federal prosecutors served a subpoena on two of its departments.

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