insurance

Where We Live
4:03 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Hartford Insurance Scandal Unfolds, and Dialing Up the Future of Call Centers

WNPR's Jeff Cohen.
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.

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Hartford Insurance Scandal
1:49 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Courant: O’Garro’s Wife Felt He Would Kill Her

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Fortnight Journal

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

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Affordable Care Act
7:46 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Health Care Law "a Maze" for Small Businesses

Credit 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.

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Hartford Insurance Controversy
11:45 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Unanswered Questions About Cloud, O'Garro, and a Trip to NYC

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit 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.

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Technology
12:34 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Internal Emails Reveal Warnings HealthCare.gov Wasn't Ready

Henry Chao, the project manager of HealthCare.gov, is sworn in to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 4:42 pm

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.

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Health Care
5:37 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Insurers Aren't Keen On Obama's Pledge To Extend Coverage

In a White House news conference Thursday, President Obama said he had thought that "98 percent" of policyholders would see no change in their current policies, or get a better deal.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:53 am

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.

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Hartford Insurance Scandal
4:38 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

State Revokes Insurance License for O'Garro, Hybrid Insurance

Earl O'Garro.
Credit 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.

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Affordable Care Act
11:35 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Live Coverage: President Obama Speaks About Health Insurance Coverage

President Barack Obama.
Credit 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.

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Insurance Scandal
10:47 am
Thu November 14, 2013

O'Garro Speaks

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.

Health Care
10:34 am
Wed November 13, 2013

More People Enroll in Private Insurance Than in Medicaid in Connecticut

Connecticut is the only state in the country to have enrolled more people in private insurance than Medicaid. Above is a picture of the Access Health CT Enrollment Center in New Britain.
Credit 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.

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Insurance
7:24 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Insurance Conference Defends State Commissioner System

Credit 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. 

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Health Care
3:18 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Self-Employed And With Lots Of Questions About Health Care

Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 2:36 pm

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.

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Insurance
2:17 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Is Hartford Still the Insurance Capital of the World?

The City of Hartford. Capital of many things, possibly even insurance
Credit 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. 

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Where We Live
10:51 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Education in Darien, Insurance Industry Update, and Objects of American History

FDR's Microphone, part of the literary exhibition "The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects."
Credit 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.  

Obamacare
4:00 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Malloy Says Federal Health Care Woes Keeping Connecticut Down

A new storefront in New Britain for Access Health CT.
Credit 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.

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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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Insurance Scandal
3:20 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

In Hartford Controversy, Feds Serve Subpoena on Two State Agencies

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit 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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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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Insurance scandal
1:23 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Hartford Releases More Detail From Federal Subpoena

Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The City of Hartford has released more information about the federal investigation into alleged corruption at city hall. Specifically, the subpoena confirms that the federal grand jury is looking into the relationship between the city and Hybrid Insurance Group. 

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Insurance Scandal
2:38 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Federal Law Enforcement Officals Subpoena Hartford City Hall Records

Hartford City Hall.
Credit mrceder / Creative Commons

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra confirmed that federal agents have served a subpoena on city hall. Segarra said he hasn't read the subpoena and doesn't know what it's for. "I have had a conversation with our legal department," he said. "They informed me that a subpoena was received in connection with a federal investigation. I have not read the subpoena, so I'm not familiar with what the subpoena states, or what it is requesting."

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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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Technology
7:40 am
Tue October 22, 2013

How Long Do They Really Have To Fix That Obamacare Website?

The mood wasn't sunny at the White House Rose Garden on Monday, as President Obama addressed the errors plaguing the computer system for health insurance enrollment.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 8:06 pm

They've got a few weeks.

But if federal officials can't get the new online insurance marketplace running smoothly by mid-November, the problems plaguing the three-week-old website could become a far bigger threat to the success of the health law, hampering enrollment and fueling opponents' calls to delay implementation, analysts say.

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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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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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Avoiding Risk?
4:20 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

In Hartford Controversy, State Files 11-Count Complaint Against Hybrid Insurance

Earl O'Garro of Hybrid Insurance Group, pictured in a biographical video.
Credit Fortnight Journal

The state insurance department has filed an 11-count complaint against Hybrid Insurance Group, the company that has defaulted on a state loan and failed to pay $670,000 in insurance premiums for the City of Hartford. Hybrid's CEO Earl O'Garro has 20 days to respond, and must appear at a hearing scheduled for November 21.

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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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Hartford Insurance Scandal
4:05 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Financial Problems at Work, and at Home, for O'Garro

Earl O'Garro's Marlborough home.
Credit Town Of Marlborough

The story of hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing insurance premiums in the city of Hartford continues to unravel. And the man at the center of the drama appears to have significant financial problems of his own: one of his homes now faces foreclosure.

When he was a student at Wesleyan University, Earl O'Garro felt like it was a crime to be rich. At least, that's what he said in an online profile posted a few years back

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