insurance

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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Show Malloy The Money
4:23 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Hybrid Insurance Defaults on State Loan

The insurance company that failed to pay nearly $700,000 in premiums on behalf of the City of Hartford now has another problem. 

The state wants its money back, too. According to a letter sent to Hybrid Insurance CEO Earl O'Garro, the state Department of Economic Development said Hybrid has defaulted on a $100,000 loan.

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Government Shutdown
10:27 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Unemployment Insurance Benefits Continue During Federal Government Shutdown

Workers at the Connecticut Department of Labor call center.
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

People currently collecting unemployment benefits in Connecticut won’t be impacted by the federal shutdown. Also, federal employees who are out of work can apply for benefits.

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Jobs
9:07 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Jobless Claims Stay Near Six-Year Low

There were 308,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, up 1,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reported Thursday morning.

That means claims continue to run at a relatively low rate that until recent weeks hadn't been seen since the spring of 2007 — six months before the start of the 2007-09 recession.

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Insurance
3:35 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Connecticut Aims to Lure Captives

Thomas Leonardi, Commissioner of the Connecticut Insurance Department and the 2012 Symposium on Captive Insurance.
Credit The Connecticut Captive Insurance Association

Stamford hosts a major conference on Wednesday on what's known as the "captive" insurance industry, a business Connecticut wants a bigger piece of.

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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

Tuesday is a big day for the White House. That's when new health insurance exchanges open in every state, where people can buy the insurance the Affordable Care Act requires next year. They will also see if they qualify for new subsidies to help them afford it.

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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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Obamacare Calculator
12:50 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

The Affordable Care Act: How is Your Health Care Affected?

Credit Darnyi Zsóka / Creative Commons

Connecticut is launching a new online health exchange, Access Health CT, where residents can shop for and purchase health insurance. The unemployed or uninsured may be able to receive health insurance under the new federal law. To see how it affects you, and whether you can take advantage of the health exchange, try the helpful tools below.

Obamacare's Bad Rap
9:28 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Changes are Coming to Health Care, But That Doesn't Mean People Like It

A national survey by UConn showed an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act.
Credit UConn

Most Americans don't like the new federal health care law that begins enrollment next week, according to a new national poll from the University of Connecticut. It's not that Americans don't want the government to help cover the uninsured. It's that they specifically don't like this law: the Affordable Care Act.

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Equine Fury on Trial
8:46 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Horse Dangerousness Before State Supreme Court

Credit Serge Melki / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut Supreme Court justices heard an appeal Tuesday that all started with a horse named Scuppy. He allegedly bit a boy, and the family sued. An attorney representing horse owners in Connecticut asked the justices to overturn an appellate court ruling. That court found Scuppy's owner to be liable, saying the species is naturally vicious.

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Health Care
9:08 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Health Care Costs Are Projected To Outpace Economic Growth

Increased use of generic drugs caused a slight drop in the price of prescription drugs in 2012.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 9:43 am

The nation's health spending will bump up next year as the Affordable Care Act expands insurance coverage to more Americans, and then will grow by an average of 6.2 percent a year over the next decade, according to projections by government actuaries.

That estimate is lower than the typical annual increases before the recession hit. Still, the actuaries forecast that in a decade the health care segment of the nation's economy will be larger than it is today, amounting to a fifth of the gross domestic product in 2022.

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Insurance
3:21 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Getting Personal With Your Health Insurance Exchange Questions

The final countdown: It's time to figure out how insurance through the health exchanges will work for you.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 11:15 am

With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.

We can't answer every question we get. But here is a sampling of questions that were really popular, or that would apply to a lot of people.

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Health Care
6:05 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Connecticut Takes Obamacare To The People

Outreach worker Emanuela Cebert (right) talks to Papilon Ferreiras about health insurance outside a rap concert.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 8:12 am

All across Connecticut, you can see billboards and TV ads, hear radio spots and get pamphlets about how to get insurance under the new health care law starting Oct. 1.

But the state is also using less traditional, and more expensive, ways to get the word out.

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Health Care
10:28 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Why More Expensive Insurance Can Pay Off

Hey, put that away. You've got the platinum plan.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 1:26 pm

One of the most far-reaching provisions of the federal health overhaul prohibits insurers from refusing to cover people who are sick or charging them more for policies.

Still, for people with serious medical conditions, the online health insurance marketplaces present new wrinkles that could have significant financial impact.

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News
3:42 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Kids With Costly Medical Issues Get Help, But Not Enough

Katie Doderer, with dad Mark, big sister Emily, and mom Marcy, has a rare medical condition that requires 24-hour use of a ventilator.
courtesy of the Doderer family

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 9:56 am

Katie Doderer is a very poised 15-year-old with short blond hair and a wide smile. She's a straight A student who loves singing, dancing and performing in musicals.

This could be considered something of a miracle.

"I have a complex medical condition known as congenital central hypoventilation – blah—syndrome. CCHS," Katie explains, stumbling on the full name of her malady. "Basically my brain doesn't tell me to breathe. So I am reliant on a mechanical ventilator."

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Health Care
3:41 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Health Premiums Up, But Modestly

A lot of Americans get their health insurance from their job. And according to a new study, the price of that insurance went up by about four percent last year. A new report finds that annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $16,300 this year -- up four percent over last year.

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News
4:13 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Fix Is In For Congressional Obamacare Glitch

The new health law has left some 20,000 workers on Capitol Hill unsure of their health care options for the coming year.
Dwight Nadig iStockphoto

Finally, the federal HR department has released the health rule much of Capitol Hill has been waiting for.

There's now an explanation from the Office of Personnel Management on how members of Congress and much of their staff will get their health insurance starting next year.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
12:39 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Marijuana and Energy

While we're busy being distracted by fake marriage proposals on ballfields, plants are growing in Connecticut, or will be if some in the state have their say. Those stories and more you might have missed.

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROWER APPROVED IN MIDDLETOWN
Former factory space may become quite "green."

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Here & Now
4:10 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Deadline Looms For States To Enroll Thousands In Health Plans

By October 1, states are supposed to have their health insurance exchanges up and running so they can enroll residents.

The exchanges are online insurance marketplaces for individuals and small businesses — where people can shop for a health plan.

Some people will pay out of pocket for their health coverage and others may get some help from the federal government to pay for their premiums.

Polls show that 40 percent of Americans do not know that the Affordable Care Act is in effect, and that percentage is higher for uninsured populations.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
2:19 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Exchanges and Gifts

Credit Sage Ross, Wikimedia Commons

Got time for a little news diversion while you wait to find out if A-Rod will play in Chicago tonight? You're at the right place. Here are a few stories you should know about today.

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NO INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE FOR YOU
Aetna withdraws from Access Health CT.

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10:28 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Connecticut May Act on Mental Health Parity Provisions

New state legislation may soon be considered to address enforcement gaps in existing federal regulations related to mental health coverage.
Frustrated by what they consider a lack of clarity from the federal government on how to enforce a landmark mental health parity act, some Connecticut officials want the state to issue its own guidance for interpreting the law. "We just can't wait any longer," said Anne Melissa Dowling, the state's deputy insurance commissioner.

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