Affordable Care Act

Connecticut, like other states, is launching a new online health exchange where residents will be able to shop for and purchase health insurance. There could be new opportunities for the unemployed or uninsured to receive health insurance. Here, we gather our coverage of changes under the new federal law.

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Freedom of Information
9:17 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Company Says Health Care Exchange Contracts Are "Trade Secrets"

Stockbyte Thinkstock

The company that got the multimillion-dollar contract to run the call centers for the health care exchange Access Health CT -- called Maximus -- is refusing to release invoices and contracts to show exactly how much they are paid by the state. 

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Affordable Care Act
2:13 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Big Ambitions And Flawed Technology Tripped Up State Exchanges

President Obama made the case for health coverage at Faneuil Hall in Boston in late October, a few weeks after enrollment opened for health insurance sold on exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 2:25 pm

Among the states that looked to expand health coverage to nearly all their citizens, Massachusetts was an early front-runner.

The state passed its own health care law back in 2006 mandating near-universal insurance coverage. That law became a model for federal action. And after the Affordable Care Act went through in 2010, Massachusetts had a head start in bringing health coverage to the uninsured.

Yet Massachusetts threw in the towel Tuesday on the problem-plagued online marketplace that was supposed to make health insurance shopping a snap.

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Political Humor
2:45 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Obama Cracks Wise At White House Correspondents Dinner

Obama has two ferns brought to the podium as a spoof of his appearance on "Between Two Ferns" for his standup at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 8:14 pm

President Obama made fun of himself at the White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday, the annual nerd-ball schmooze fest where Washington's media stars get comfy with a mix of political bigwigs and Hollywood beautiful people to celebrate a year of journalism.

Obama, known for his comic timing and delivery, didn't disappoint.

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Connecticut First
5:55 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Lawmaker Supports Highway Tolls; Bill Makes it Easier for Charitable Raffles

A key lawmaker in the Connecticut General Assembly is embracing a White House proposal to loosen restrictions on tolling federal interstates.  Rocky Hill state Representative Tony Guerrera-- a co-chairman of the legislature’s Transportation Committee-- says that tolls are the answer to Connecticut’s declining gas tax revenues. He said it would also allow the state to reduce its high taxes on gasoline.  

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Affordable Care Act
9:12 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Obamacare Enrollees Emboldened To Leave Jobs, Start Businesses

Mike Smith, of Long Beach, Calif., now pays $200 for his family's health insurance policy, compared with the $3,000 a month he would have had to pay on the individual market last year.
Stephanie O'Neill for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:10 pm

Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.

He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.

"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.

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Health Disparity
9:43 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Advocates, State Working to Expand Behavioral Health Coverage For the Poor

Pamela McGuire is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Hartford.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The Affordable Care Act is all about getting people health insurance. Once they're insured, there's another hurdle: getting them access to care. That's a particular problem for people living on low incomes.

It's even more of a problem for the poor who seek behavioral health care. 

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Dental health
10:26 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Free Dental Clinic Continues to Draw Crowds

At Hartford's XL Center, hundreds of volunteer dentists cleaned teeth and performed other procedures for whoever showed up.
Alan Yu WNPR

More than 2,000 people waited outside the XL Center in Hartford this past weekend to get free dental work at the Connecticut Mission of Mercy dental clinic.

There were so many people that hundreds had to line up overnight.

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Affordable Care Act
4:22 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Obama: Affordable Care Act Enrollment Hits 8 Million

President Obama speaks about health care on Thursday. ACA enrollment has reached 8 million, he said, and it's "well past time" for Republicans to stop trying to repeal it.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama says that enrollment under the Affordable Care Act has reached 8 million after the March 31 sign-up deadline was extended by two weeks.

"This thing is working," he told reporters at a White House briefing on Thursday.

The president said that 35 percent of those signing up through the federal government's website were under the age of 35. The need for younger, healthier individuals to enroll in the program is considered vital to the success of Obamacare.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

The Wheelhouse Talks Debates, Obamacare, and ...Burritos?

Join us for our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse every Wednesday.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

In this edition of our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we ask two big questions surrounding the 2014 race for governor. What impact will John Rowland's latest scandal have on Republicans? What impact will President Barack Obama have on Governor Dannel Malloy and the state's Democratic congressional delegation?

Also: did you join the herds of UConn basketball fans in line for $1.00 burritos?

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Health Insurance
2:42 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Patients Often Win If They Appeal A Denied Health Claim

A 2011 GAO report that sampled data from a handful of states suggests that, even before Obamacare, patients got the claim denial overturned 39 to 59 percent of the time when they appealed directly to the insurer.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:29 pm

Federal rules ensure that none of the millions of people who signed up for Obamacare can be denied insurance — but there is no guarantee that all health services will be covered.

To help make sure a patient's claims aren't improperly denied, the Affordable Care Act creates national standards that allow everyone who is denied treatment to appeal that decision to the insurance company and, if necessary, to a third party reviewer.

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Reflecting On Obamacare
3:28 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Head of State Health Insurance Exchange Reflects on Lessons Learned

Kevin Counihan says Access Health CT's two retail storefronts performed well, enrolling over 70 percent of their 14,000 visitors.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Now that the deadline for enrollment in Obamacare has passed, the head of Connecticut's health insurance exchange has said he learned a few lessons.

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Affordable Care Act
5:03 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Connecticut to Share Its Obamacare Computer Code

Credit Michael Himbeault / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Obamacare enrollment website did well enough this year to attract the interest of other states. Officials from Access Health CT said they are finalizing a deal with the state of Maryland to share computer code.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed April 2, 2014

The Wheelhouse Respects the Process

Kevin Rennie
Chion Wolf

On Tuesday, former Governor John G. Rowland took to the airwaves at his usual time on his WTIC AM talk show, despite being named in federal court as an alleged co-conspirator to a campaign finance scheme. He wouldn't comment on the accusations, only to say, "I am not going to be discussing the recent news and legal developments. I am sure that you all understand. And I want to respect the process."

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Affordable Care Act
4:09 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obamacare Enrollment Surged in Connecticut as Deadline Expired

Credit Slawomir Fajer/iStock / Thinkstock

President Obama said that more than seven million people have signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Connecticut saw a huge surge in enrollments as Monday's deadline passed. 

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Affordable Care Act
2:13 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obama: The Affordable Care Act Is Working, 'Helping People... Coast To Coast'

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 5:00 pm

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET. with Obama's comments.

President Obama emerged from the White House on Tuesday to rousing applause. He announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the federal exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," Obama said at the Rose Garden. "It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast."

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Connecticut First
6:18 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Health Care Sign-Up Deadline Is Here; Metro-North Delays Are Up

Connecticut residents have until midnight tonight to obtain an insurance plan and avoid a federal tax penalty. Residents without health coverage can shop and compare plans at accesshealthct.com. Anyone who remains uninsured when the deadline expires will face a penalty of either 1 percent of the family's gross household income or $95 for each uninsured individual -- whichever amount is greater.

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Health Insurance
10:23 am
Mon March 31, 2014

ACA Expected to Increase Demand for Primary Care Doctors; Quinnipiac University Responds

With the open enrollment deadline looming, organizations across Connecticut are helping people sign up for health insurance coverage. Health centers are open Monday in many cities, including Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Norwich, and Waterbury, with extra in-person help. 

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Affordable Care Act
9:57 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Seven Things to Watch As the Health Care Enrollment Deadline Passes

Credit scyther5/iStock / Thinkstock

Just because open enrollment for people who buy their own health insurance formally closes March 31 doesn't mean debate over the health law will take a hiatus. After more than four years of strident rhetoric, evidence about how the law is actually working is starting to trickle in. 

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Affordable Care Act
5:19 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Federal Obamacare Deadline Extends, But Connecticut's Does Not

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

As the deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act approaches, the federal government now says it will give some people extra time to enroll. But that change won't apply to people in Connecticut.

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Connecticut First
5:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Health Insurance Deadline Looms; New England Unemployment Rate Declines

Connecticut officials are discussing final efforts to enroll residents in health insurance plans before next week’s deadline. Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman appeared at the First Choice Health Center in East Hartford today along with Kevin Counihan, CEO of the state’s insurance marketplace, Access Health CT.  Those who don’t sign up will have to pay $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater.

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Obamacare
4:07 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

As Obamacare Deadline Approaches, Penalties Loom for Those Who Miss It

Gov. Dannel Malloy sells Obamacare as the enrollment deadline approaches.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Officials say enrollment in the state's health insurance marketplace is surging as the March 31 deadline to sign up approaches. 

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Affordable Care Act
10:37 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Last Chance To Ask About Health Law Before Sign-Up Deadline

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 11:23 am

This is it. The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year is March 31. With time running out, the questions about how the health law and the exchanges work keep pouring in. Here are a few more to check out while the clock ticks down.

My son will be 19 in May. I claim him as a dependent on my taxes. If I don't provide for his medical coverage and he is unemployed and makes no income, how is he supposed to pay his penalty? Or are they going to take his penalty out of my tax return because he is a dependent on my return?

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Access Health CT
7:31 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Customers Rush To Retail Store In Connecticut To Buy Obamacare

DeLisa Tolson signed up for health insurance at a retail store set up by Connecticut's exchange. She says she was so happy with the experience, she told all her friends.
Jeff Cohen/NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Mike Dunn stands inside a store in downtown New Haven, looking through the big glass windows at his future customers outside. He's not selling phones or food or clothes. He's selling Obamacare.

There's one week left to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and states have gone to great lengths to enroll as many people up as possible. In Connecticut, the exchange has opened two retail storefronts where people can walk in and sign up.

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Affordable Care Act
12:49 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Doctors Say Obamacare Rule Will Stick Them With Unpaid Bills

A checkup might include more pointed questions about insurance status for people with subsidized health coverage.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 2:04 pm

Doctors worry they won't get paid by some patients because of an unusual 90-day grace period for government-subsidized health plans.

So several professional groups for doctors are urging their members to check patients' insurance status before every visit. Consumer advocates say these checks could lead to treatment delays or denials for some patients.

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Comedy
9:30 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Obama Goes Between The Ferns To Talk With Zach Galifianakis

In an interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis on the Web series Between Two Ferns, President Obama pitched health insurance to a younger audience.
Funny or Die

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 8:01 pm

"My mouse pad broke, and I had to get my great-aunt some diabetes shoes."

That's how comedian Zach Galifianakis begins his segment with President Obama in an episode of the online interview show Between Two Ferns that was posted Tuesday. It was an interview unlike any other for a sitting U.S. president, as Galifianakis probed the commander in chief's views with a range of oddball questions.

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