insurance

If you are buying health coverage in the Colorado ski resort towns, the Connecticut suburbs of New York City or a bunch of otherwise low-cost rural regions of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada, you have the misfortune of living in the most expensive insurance marketplaces under the new health law.

City of Hartford

A federal grand jury is looking into the business dealings of Hartford insurance broker Earl O'Garro. And from the beginning, what raised eyebrows was the relationship between O'Garro and city Treasurer Adam Cloud -- O'Garro did business with Cloud's family.

Now, there's another development. A woman who was a paid campaign consultant for Cloud's 2011 campaign also got a job with Hybrid.

Mike Priggins and Kyle Reyes / under30ceo.com

Earl O'Garro, the embattled insurance broker who is at the heart of a federal criminal probe, is due in state court Thursday on charges that he failed to pay his workers.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Health care costs are going to be increasingly shifted to consumers. That was the message from Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini at a presentation Wednesday.

vichie81/iStock / Thinkstock

Health insurer Anthem is still playing catch up on issuing enrollment confirmation to Connecticut consumers who’ve signed up for coverage through the state’s health care exchange.

Arielle Levin Becker / The Connecticut Mirror

The Affordable Care Act is the signature piece of the president's domestic agenda and it's now, finally, operational. The question is: Is it working? On Where We Live we talk Obamacare and ask whether it is doing what it promised - helping the nation's poor and uninsured. 

New York's health insurance marketplace is working, but some consumers are still having problems with insurers. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield is the state's largest insurer and the target of a lot of consumer complaints.

Angela Felan is sitting in the ER waiting room at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif. A blue surgical mask covers her nose and mouth, and a sweatshirt is pulled snug over her head.

She first came into the emergency room a few days ago with what she thought was bronchitis. The doctor prescribed an inhaler that cost her $56.

Felan, 31, works part time in retail and hasn't had insurance for at least a decade because she hasn't been able to afford it. "Unfortunately even not having insurance is just as expensive," she says.

For the first time, we are getting some demographic information about the more than 2 million people who have signed up for private health insurance through the exchanges set up by the federal government.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration said older, less healthy enrollees outnumber healthy, younger ones. The Times adds:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The head of the state's insurance marketplace said his number one priority right now is making sure people who signed up for health care coverage can get it. So far, about 40,000 Connecticut residents have enrolled in private insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said that number rapidly growing.

Pact

  We live in an age where our cell phones tell us how much to exercise and what to eat. And people find that it's helping them. 

Mike Priggins and Kyle Reyes / under30ceo.com

It's not getting any better for troubled insurance broker Earl O'Garro. The man at the center of a federal grand jury investigation in Hartford may soon be arrested for not paying his employees. 

Fortnight Journal

There are new questions about the business background of Earl O'Garro -- the insurance broker at the center of a federal grand jury investigation in Hartford. 

In emails obtained from the city of Hartford, it's clear that O'Garro's former employer considered suing him once he left.

Despite Health Law, Many People May Be Left Underinsured

Dec 31, 2013

People with chronic conditions will be better protected from crippling medical bills starting in January, as the health law's coverage requirements and spending limits take effect.

Town Of Marlborough

Lawyers for the state are moving to seize property owned by embattled Hartford insurance broker Earl O'Garro, according to the office of the state attorney general.

The White House released new figures on Sunday that show a surge in the number of Americans who have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace.

According to a blog post by Marilynn Tavenner, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, 1.1 million Americans have signed up for coverage since the marketplace opened in October.

BrianAJackson/iStock / Thinkstock

Officials running the state's new health care exchange say thousands of people are enrolling for insurance as Monday's deadline draws near.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

Ever since news broke that a federal grand jury was looking into dealings between insurance broker Earl O'Garro and the city of Hartford, there's been a question: How well do O'Garro and city Treasurer Adam Cloud know each other? Now we have a few more answers. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

An auditor for the city of Hartford said he has no confidence that the kinds of protocol breaches that got the city treasurer and former finance director in trouble won't happen again.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's rollout of the Affordable Care Act has gotten its share of praise. But it's had its share of challenges, too.

Kevin Counihan runs Access Health CT, the agency handling the state's implementation of the new health care law. He said of the more than 300,000 people without insurance in Connecticut, over 47,000 have enrolled for coverage since October 1.

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.

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.

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