Affordable Care Act

Connecticut, like other states, launched an online health exchange -- Access Health CT -- where residents can 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.

Alex Proimos/flickr creative commons

Time for a health checkup on Connecticut's health insurance exchange. What is working? What improvements are still needed? Tell Faith and her panel of health care experts how it worked for you. 

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.

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 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.

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.

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. 

When the head of the agency responsible for the troubled Healthcare.gov went before Congress for the first time since its foibles became apparent Oct. 1, she probably didn't expect that many questions would be on something else altogether.

Jason T. Poplin

Connecticut’s health care marketplace is back in business after problems caused by the failure of a federal data hub. The storm of controversy over the federal healthcare exchange has largely left state exchanges like Connecticut’s untouched. Until this weekend.

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.

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.

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.

Christine Stuart / CT News Junkie

The new federal health care exchange at healthcare.gov has received criticism for not working smoothly over the first few weeks of its introduction, with one analyst calling the glitches a "fiasco." Here in Connecticut, Access Health CT has received high marks from HealthPocket, an independent firm that examines plans and their performance across the country. That and more in The Wheelhouse Digest. 

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.

Mackenzie Kreitler / Verizon Wireless

The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence received a grant form the Verizon Foundation Friday that will train Health Care providers to become effective domestic violence screeners.

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.

HealthCare.gov was meant to create a simple, easy way for millions of Americans to shop for subsidized health care.

Instead, in a little two more than weeks, it has become the poster child for the federal government's technical ineptitude.

Pete Souza / White House

This shutdown is getting old. Federal workers aren’t getting paid, and that means lots of people right here in Connecticut are affected directly - and a lot more are having problems, too.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's been two weeks since enrollment began under the new health insurance law known as Obamacare. First, the numbers. Connecticut has about 344,000 people without health insurance. Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, was designed to lower that number.

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.

Christine Stuart / CT News Junkie

Almost a third of those who have signed up on Connecticut's health care exchange so far are in the coveted under-35 demographic. The exchange has been operating for just over a week. By Tuesday, the exchange had processed just over 1,400 applications.

Christine Stuart / CT News Junkie

On today's episode of The Wheelhouse we're covering the hot political topics of the day, crunched together here in a quick-to-skim format, including how Access Health CT did on its unveiling: despite technical glitches, more enrollments came through than expected. This is The Wheelhouse Digest.

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.

Matanya / Flickr Creative Commons

Quinnipiac University released their latest national poll on Tuesday, looking at American voters' attitudes about the government shutdown and Obamacare. The poll of 1,497 registered voters revealed that 72 percent are opposed to the notion of shutting down the government to stop implementation of Obamacare, and 64 percent oppose blocking an increase of the debt ceiling to derail the Affordable Care Act.

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.

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