Tag Archives: President Obama

No Need to Visit HealthCare.gov to Renew Insurance

The Obama administration announced Thursday that most people would be able to renew subsidized health insurance coverage without filing an application and without going back to HealthCare.gov, the website that frustrated millions of consumers last fall.

But some people will have to go into the marketplace again — if, for example, their income has changed or they want to shop for a better deal in 2015.

Under rules proposed Thursday by the administration, most people who purchased health plans in the federal insurance marketplace could automatically renew their coverage and premium subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act.

More than 5.4 million people selected health plans in the federal exchange for 2014, and 86 percent of them were found eligible for subsidies that lower the cost.

If millions of people had to enroll again through HealthCare.gov it could have proved a logistical nightmare for many consumers, insurers and federal officials. “There had been talk of everyone having to re-enroll, which would have been a disaster,” said an insurance industry expert who meets often with federal officials and requested anonymity so as not to jeopardize those relationships.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the new secretary of Health and Human Services, said the administration was determined to minimize the hassles in the next open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15, 2015.

“We are working to streamline the process for consumers wishing to remain in their current plan,” said Ms. Burwell, who issued the rules encouraging automatic renewal.

Aaron Albright, a spokesman at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal exchange, said: “At least 95 percent of consumers in the marketplace will not have to do anything to renew their plans and their financial assistance. They won’t have to do anything to re-enroll.”

Federal officials will specify the contents of notices that insurers will send consumers later this year. A typical notice says: “Your health insurance coverage is coming up for renewal. You will be automatically re-enrolled and can keep your current coverage.”

The proposed rules show how the Affordable Care Act is becoming entwined in the fabric of national health policy and government regulation. Even as politicians continue fighting over the law, and many Republicans still hope to roll it back, but the Obama administration is writing rules to keep the program in operation for years.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Consumers Who Have Insurance Through The Exchange Have Buyers Remorse

Some consumers who bought insurance under President Barack Obama’s Federal Exchange are experiencing buyer’s remorse after realizing that their longtime doctors aren’t accepting the new plans.

Before the law took effect, experts warned that narrow networks could impact patients’ access to care, especially in cheaper plans. But with insurance cards now in hand, consumers are finding their access limited across all price ranges – sometimes even after they were told their plan would include their current doctor.

Narrow networks are part of the economic trade-off for keeping premiums under control and preventing insurers from turning away those with pre-existing conditions. Even before the Affordable Care Act, doctors and hospitals would choose to leave a network – or be pushed out – over reimbursement issues as insurers tried to contain costs.

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary

President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Misconceptions About Who Pays for Health Care

Eight million people have signed up for subsidized private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama said this month. Millions more obtained new coverage through the Medicaid program for the poor.

Full implementation of the health law has renewed discussions of winners and losers, makers and moochers.

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary

President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Health Secretary

After a storm of criticism for a poor launch of the Healthcare.gov website, Kathleen Sebelius has resigned. President Obama will appoint Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Director of the Office Management and Budget.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary