insurance

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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. 

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.

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?

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Why More Expensive Insurance Can Pay Off

Sep 10, 2013

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.

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."

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.

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.

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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