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. 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 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 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.

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. 

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. 

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."

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., 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.