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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Affordable Care Act
4:44 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Federal Courts Weigh in on Obamacare Subsidies

Credit jwblinn/iStock / Thinkstock

Should the federal government help Americans pay for their new health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act? That's a question being tackled in courts across the country. Two of them have issued very different rulings. 

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Affordable Care Act
10:59 am
Tue July 22, 2014

U.S. Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions On Obamacare Subsidies

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:03 pm

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to the Affordable Care Act, when it threw out an IRS regulation that governs subsidies. But before the ink dried on that decision, another three-judge panel hearing a similar case issued a decision that was completely opposite.

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Health care innovation
11:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Forum Explores Innovation as a Way to Improve Nation's Health Care System

The speed of sequencing genes has increased by six orders of magnitude in the last 25 years, according to Dr. Edison Liu.
Credit The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut Congressman John Larson sponsored a health care forum on Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford. 

"Improving Our Health Care System Through Science and Innovation" was a chance for a panel of prominent health care leaders to tout how innovations in their area of expertise are saving lives and pulling down the cost of health care.

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

The Wheelhouse: Health Insurance; Charter Schools; Bridgewater Turns The Car Around

The Supreme Court of the United States.
Credit Mark Fischer / Creative Commons

It looks like the world'’s largest hedge fund won'’t build a new headquarters in Stamford…. What does that say about the state'’s economic development plans? A charter school organization faces investigations of its finances and operations. What does it say about the school reform movement? We’'ll look at those stories, plus the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, and whether the employer-based insurance model makes sense today.

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Obamacare
10:19 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Some Companies Can Refuse To Cover Contraception, Supreme Court Says

Customers enter a Hobby Lobby store in Antioch, Calif., this past spring. The Supreme Court is ruling on the crafts store chain's resistance to portions of the Affordable Care Act. The store's owners cite their religious freedom.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 1:54 pm

The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.

The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom.

The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.

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How Affordable Is The ACA?
7:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Obamacare Agency Changes Course, Releases Public Information

Some of the responses to our Freedom of Information request.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

One dollar and 22 cents. That's how much Access Health CT, the state's health insurance marketplace, pays its call center operator for each minute it spends on the phone helping someone navigate the Affordable Care Act.

It's also a number that Maximus, the call center operator, has tried to keep from public disclosure for months.

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Affordable Care Act
7:08 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Health Care Can Be Key To A Better Life For Former Inmates

Juanita Alvarado (right), a community health worker at the Transitions Clinic in San Francisco, helps a patient.
courtesy of Transitions Clinic

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 9:41 am

A San Francisco law now permits the sheriff's department to enroll inmates in health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act — policies designed to cover medical care after a prisoner's release. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi believes that making sure people have health coverage when they leave jail will help keep them from committing another crime and coming back.

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Connecticut First
5:55 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Malloy Holds Transportation Crisis Meeting; Maximus Worker Source of Health Data Brea

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling on the Coast Guard to restrict the number of times it allows a railroad swing bridge over the Norwalk River to rotate open. In a letter to the Coast Guard, Blumenthal says the bridge failed 16 times in 271 openings during 2013. Governor Malloy held a “Crisis Summit” earlier today to discuss the problem.

Health Exchange Worker Comes Forward After Data Breach

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Maximus
9:16 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Call Center Worker on Leave for Access Health CT Data Breach

Credit zimmytws/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut's health insurance exchange said the owner of a backpack found on a Hartford street containing Social Security numbers and other data works for a call center vendor, and has been placed on administrative leave. 

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Health Insurance
3:27 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Frustrated By The Affordable Care Act, One Family Opts Out

Nick and Rachel Robinson welcome their son Cash, who was born in a midwife's birthing pool.
Jessica Hooten Courtesy of Nick Robinson

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:21 pm

The Robinson family of Dallas started out pretty excited about their new insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

Nick Robinson had turned to Obamacare after he lost his job last summer. He had been working as a youth pastor, and the job included benefits that covered him, his two young daughters, and his wife, Rachel, a wedding photographer.

Nick says he wasn't too nervous at first, because everyone was healthy. Then, he recalls, they found out Rachel was pregnant.

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Affordable Care Act
1:37 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Poll: Latinos Underinformed On Obamacare

Credit Access Health CT

A new poll by a non-profit working to get people health insurance coverage say that a lack of understanding hindered Obamacare enrollment for at least one demographic groups: Latinos. 

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Health Policy
10:01 am
Thu May 22, 2014

GOP Strategy To Run Against Health Law Hits Snags

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal delivers remarks during the the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in March 2013.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 8:49 am

Last year, the Republican playbook for keeping control of the House of Representatives in 2014 and winning the Senate consisted of a fairly simple strategy: Run against Obamacare.

But now that the 2014 races are starting to take shape, that strategy isn't looking quite so simple. Democrats are fighting back. They're focusing on Republican opposition to the health law's expansion of Medicaid as a part of their own campaigns.

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Health Survey
8:23 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Survey Reveals Chronic Illness Is a Problem For Adults in Connecticut

The survey showed that 59 percent of adults postponed needed medical care because of cost.
Credit Morgan / Creative Commons

Results of the Connecticut Heath Care Survey were released on Wednesday. On the surface, the numbers pretty look good: 91 percent of the 4,608 adults surveyed reported having health insurance, and 87 percent said their health is good to very good.

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Connecticut First
5:02 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Graduation Rates Rise; Democrats Hold Nominating Conventions

State officials announced today at Hartford’s Insurance and Finance Academy--that Connecticut’s high school graduation rate increased for the fourth consecutive year. The gap between graduation rates of black and white students, Hispanic and white students, and also among affluent and poor students  also narrowed.

Political Parties Holding Nominating Conventions

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Access Health CT
8:03 am
Wed May 14, 2014

State's Bill For Obamacare Call Center Significantly Higher Than Estimated

vichie81/iStock Thinkstock

One part of the Affordable Care Act has become less affordable: call centers. Maximus, the company that runs the phone banks to enroll people in Connecticut, originally said it would charge the state $15 million over roughly three years.

The state now says the cost of that contract could nearly double. 

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Affordable Care Act
11:37 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Employers May Start Paying You To Buy Health Insurance

Employees pay directly for their health insurance in "defined contribution" plans.
iStockphoto

What if employers started giving workers a chunk of cash to buy health insurance on their own instead of offering them a chance to buy into the company plan? Are workers ready to manage their own health insurance like they do a 401(k)?

The idea that employers might drop their health plans and replace them with a "defined contribution" for employees has been around for years. It's one way for employers to control their expenses in the face of the relentlessly rising costs of health care.

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Dental Health
3:16 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Dental Care Still Out of Reach For "Huge Piece of the Population"

More than 200 dentists volunteered for a free, two-day dental clinic in Hartford.
Connecticut Mission of Mercy

Your teeth may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to health care. Dentists say oral health problems seldom get better on their own, and can point to disease elsewhere in the body, including diabetes and some forms of cancer and leukemia. Of course, a toothache can just be painful.

But if you’re an adult who doesn’t have dental insurance, caring for your teeth and your health can be a real challenge. The Affordable Care Act covers dental care for children, but not adults, and dental care isn't cheap.

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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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