Posts Tagged ‘healthcare

27
Apr
15

The Power Of ObamaCare: Millions Happy With Their Health Coverage

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Steve Benen: ACA Scores Big On Customer Satisfaction

When the Affordable Care Act’s Republican critics were making all kinds of dire predictions about the inevitable “failures” of “Obamacare,” one of the charges was that American consumers will end up hating the coverage they receive through the reform law. And for those ACA detractors looking for something, anything, to bolster their contempt for the law, I’m afraid I have more bad news: Americans who received coverage through Obamacare tend to be quite pleased with the results.

Obamacare customers nationally also tended to be more satisfied with their plans bought in 2014 than people who primarily have traditional job-based health coverage – the majority of those with insurance – the study by the J.D. Power market research company found. Politico reported back in November: “A majority of Americans give good reviews for insurance they recently acquired through government exchanges within the past year, a new poll shows. With the second round of Obamacare enrollment set to begin on Saturday, 71 percent said their coverage through the exchanges was good or excellent, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

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24
Apr
15

ObamaCare: The Wonderful Gift That Keeps On Giving

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Jeffrey Young: Uninsured Rate Gets Lower And Lower, Thanks To Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act was designed to slash the percentage of Americans who lack health insurance, and it’s working. The uninsured rate fell to 11.9 percent during the first quarter of this year, 1 percentage point below the rate at the close of 2014, according to the findings of a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll published Monday. The decline coincides with the start of benefits for new Obamacare enrollees at the beginning of 2015. The latest uninsured figure from the Gallup survey is the lowest since the polling firm began tracking the number in 2008, and contributes to a remarkable decline of 5.2 percentage points in the share of people without health coverage since the end of 2013, just before the first wave of Obamacare health insurance enrollees joined the ranks of the insured.

African-Americans, Hispanics and people with low incomes saw the greatest gains in insurance coverage, Gallup found. the pollsters conclude that Obamacare is mostly responsible for the current trend because the uninsured rate is lower than it was in early 2008, when the economy was in recession. About 12 million people are covered by private health insurance obtained via the exchanges, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. A separate analysis published by the department last month estimates that 16 million fewer Americans are uninsured because of the Obamacare coverage expansion, including the exchanges and Medicaid.

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12
Apr
15

Democrat Or Republican? ObamaCare Has Your Back

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Amy Lynn Smith: Having Faced A Medical Bankruptcy, Republican Has A Change Of Heart About The ACA

When health insurance became available through Healthcare.gov last year, Theresa had her doubts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a fiercely independent small business owner — and a Republican — the only news she saw about Obamacare was negative. Theresa says she’s grateful she didn’t listen to the people who told her Obamacare was “bullsh*t.” Through Healthcare.gov, she found a Silver plan for just $94 per month, with the help of tax credits. About six years ago, Theresa had polyps on her vocal cords and her doctor told her if she didn’t have surgery she could choke on them or bleed to death. Plus, there was a chance the polyps could turn cancerous.

Theresa didn’t have a choice, but without insurance her surgeons demanded payment in advance. She says the surgery and subsequent care cost her “tens of thousands of dollars.” Fortunately, starting in January 2015 Theresa will have health insurance that’s accepted by all her doctors, with a $700 annual deductible and $1,450 out-of-pocket maximum limit. It will cost her just a $20 co-pay to see her primary physician and $50 to see a specialist. She can’t wait to schedule all her check-ups, including the necessary follow-up on the remaining polyps she couldn’t afford to have removed.

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22
Mar
15

ObamaCare: Five Years Later, Millions Covered. Thanks, President Obama

24
Feb
15

Medicare Saves $15B On Prescription Drug Costs. Thanks, ObamaCare

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Sarah Ferris: Medicare Drug Costs Shrinking Under ObamaCare

ObamaCare has led to substantial savings in prescription drug costs and a strong increase in the use of preventive services, administration officials announced Tuesday. “Our parents and grandparents on Medicare saved more than $15 billion on prescription drugs since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said. Those savings amount to nearly $1,600 per person enrolled in Medicare — an increase from about $1,400 in average savings last year. Tackling prescription drug costs has been a major goal of the Obama administration, pledging to close the coverage gap, known as the “doughnut hole,” by 2020. Because

Medicare drug plans have a limit on how much they pay for medication, beneficiaries are forced to pay for their treatments out of pocket before their catastrophic coverage kicks in. Under ObamaCare, recipients in the “doughnut hole” receive a rebate or discount from the government to help them save on prescription drug costs until the gap can ultimately be closed. Burwell also highlighted the growing use of preventive healthcare coverage under ObamaCare — another top issue for the administration. Many provider groups only signed onto healthcare reform with the promise that preventive care would be a central tenet. Nearly 40 million people have used at least one of Medicare’s free preventive services in the last year alone, the secretary said. Nearly 5 million enrollees received the annual wellness exam.

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18
Jan
15

ObamaCare: Making History Every Day

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Tara Culp-Ressler: Obamacare Has Reversed A Negative Trend. Researchers Call It ‘Remarkable’

For the first time in a decade, the number of people struggling to pay their medical bills has started to decline, according to a new survey released on Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund. The researchers attributed the historic drop to the number of people gaining insurance under the health care reform law. Between 2012 and 2014 — as Obamacare’s main coverage expansion took effect — the Commonwealth researchers found that the number of people who had issues paying for health treatment dropped from 41 percent to 35 percent. Over the same time period, the people who skipped out on health services because they couldn’t afford them declined from 43 percent to 36 percent

In a press release, the researchers described the declines as “remarkable.” This marks the first time since 2005, when Commonwealth started surveying people on these questions, that the number of Americans struggling to afford medical care hasn’t increased. Commonwealth’s findings, which also documented a drop in the number of Americans going without insurance, track closely with other surveys that have reported declines in the uninsured rate under Obamacare. The number of Americans without health care was reduced by about 25 percent last year, which means that between eight million and eleven million people have gained coverage.

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Margot Sanger-Katz: Signs of A Decline In Financial Distress Connected To Medical Bills

After rising for a decade, the number of Americans experiencing financial distress from their medical bills has started to decline, a new survey has found. The result provides new evidence that the Affordable Care Act, by providing uninsured people with health insurance, is also improving their financial security, a major goal of the law. The large telephone survey, from the New York-based health research group the Commonwealth Fund, has been asking people about their medical bills every few years for a decade. In each survey through 2012, a higher percentage of Americans said they struggled to pay their medical bills, were paying off medical debt or had been contacted by a collection agency.

The most recent installment of the survey, the first since the health law’s major provisions kicked in, shows a reversal in that trend. The survey also found that fewer people were avoiding doctors’ visits because of concerns about cost. But Commonwealth also found that, over all, even people who had insurance before 2014 were having fewer problems with medical bills than they were before. That change may reflect rules in the health law that require individual insurance plans to cover a minimum set of benefits for every customer.

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18
Dec
14

Millions Now Have Health Coverage. Thanks, ObamaCare

Image: Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Affordable Care Act

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Zeke J Miller: Number of Uninsured Americans Near Historic Low

New federal government data shows the percentage of Americans without health insurance was at or near historic lows this year following the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, and appears certain to fall to record levels next year. The data released Thursday from the National Center for Health Statistics’ National Health Interview Survey found that 11.3 percent of Americans were without coverage in the second quarter of 2014, down from 13.1 percent in the first quarter and 14.4 percent throughout 2013. An analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisers finds the drop in the uninsured to be the largest in four decades,

amounting to roughly 9.7 million Americans getting insurance, consistent with other Affordable Care Act estimates. The new data does not include the nearly 2.5 million who have newly selected or re-enrolled for coverage in the latest round of open enrollment which began last month. Nor does it include those who’ve gained coverage in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program since the second quarter—including 400,000 from September to October, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—as more states expand access to the program with federal money under the law.

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05
Dec
14

The Freedom To Retire Early And Have Good Health? Thanks, ObamaCare

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Amy Lynn Smith: Obamacare Gives Ohio Man The Freedom To Retire Early And Improve His Health

Jim worked 37 years for the same company, typically putting in 50-hour weeks that included travel and working weekends. It started taking a toll and he says his health began to decline. That’s why he decided to retire at age 59 — something he could not have done without the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. “June 28, 2012 was one of the happiest days of my life, when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act,” Jim says. “Without the ACA, I could not get insurance at any price because my wife is a cancer survivor — she had leukemia 15 years ago —

and the only way I could get insurance was through work.” His wife’s leukemia was treated successfully and neither one of them has any chronic health conditions, but that didn’t stop insurance companies from turning people away or charging exorbitant prices because of pre-existing conditions before the ACA. Jim retired in March 2014 after doing his homework about the plans available on the insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov. The plan Jim chose would have cost $1,200 per month to cover him and his wife, but with a tax subsidy their premium costs just $127 per month.

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17
Nov
14

A Decline In Dangerous Premature Births. Thanks, ObamaCare

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Michelle Andrews: Dangerous Premature Births Decline In States That Expanded Medicaid

The percentage of babies born prematurely fell to 11.4 percent in 2013, its lowest level in 17 years, according to an annual March of Dimes report released this week. While many factors contributed to the decline, officials say the health law’s expansion of Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level has played a role. Going forward, other health law provisions will likely contribute to further reductions in preterm births, defined as live births at less than 37 full weeks, women’s health advocates suggest.  The health law’s expansion of public and private health insurance coverage to millions of women will likely have the largest impact on reducing preterm births, says Adam Sonfield, a senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and education organization.

Pregnant women who meet their state’s income eligibility standards (typically at or near 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or $23,340), can receive Medicaid services until 60 days after they give birth, but more consistent coverage helps ensure that women are healthy before they become pregnant and that they receive early prenatal care. Other health law provisions will make inroads as well, according to Sonfield, who authored a Guttmacher brief on pregnancy-related services shortly after the law passed in 2010. Maternity and newborn care is now required coverage in plans sold on the individual and small group markets. A range of preventive services must be provided free of charge to pregnant women, including folic acid supplements, smoking cessation counseling, screening for gestational diabetes and prenatal care.

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09
Nov
14

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone

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