ACA and Medicaid Coverage

  • Progress, challenges as Medicaid rolls swell in state, By Lisa Stiffler, April 17, 2014, Seattle Times: “Washington state has blown past its targets for signing up new Medicaid participants under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The program’s ranks have grown roughly 25 percent in the past six months, helping fulfill one of the act’s key goals to provide health care to nearly all Americans. By the end of March, more than 285,000 adults who are newly eligible to participate in Medicaid had signed up for coverage. That’s twice the number officials had hoped to reach by then, and a target they hadn’t expected to hit for three more years. But with enrollment success comes the challenge of serving more people in a $10 billion program that’s already stretched thin in places…”
  • Health law push brings thousands into Colo. Medicaid who were already eligible, By Eric Whitney, April 16, 2014, Washington Post: “The big marketing push to get people enrolled in health coverage between October and March resulted in 3 million people signing up for Medicaid. Hundreds of thousands of those people were already eligible and could have signed up even before the Affordable Care Act made it much more generous. They came ‘out of the woodwork’ to get enrolled, analysts say, thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and publicity around its new marketplaces. In Colorado, nearly 23,000 such people are now getting Medicaid. Their numbers grew Colorado’s Medicaid rolls by 3 percent over last year…”

ACA and Medicaid Coverage – Minnesota, Virginia

  • Minnesota’s uninsured get public aid at historic levels, By Chris Serres, April 13, 2014, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “On a recent weekday evening, Ibrahim Hassan was pacing the narrow corridor outside a Somali mosque in south Minneapolis, buoyantly shaking hands and waving like a politician at a campaign stop. His mission: To sign up every eligible uninsured person he met for public health coverage through the state’s MNsure website. His mobile ‘office’ consisted of a foldout table, a laptop and a small sign that read, ‘We can help you’ in Somali and ‘Obama Care.’ Though much attention has focused on the March 31 deadline to buy private health insurance — and the consumer frenzy that resulted — federal health reform and the debut of MNsure have also led to a historic surge in the number of Minnesotans enrolling in public programs…”
  • Va. Republicans aren’t blinking in showdown over Medicaid expansion, By Laura Vozzela, April 13, 2014, Washington Post: “Virginia Republicans were supposed to be squirming by now. For months, their opposition to expanding Medi­caid under the Affordable Care Act has put them at odds with some traditional allies in the business world. Hospitals, the state chamber of commerce and corporate leaders have been calling, writing, visiting and buttonholing, pushing what they call ‘the business case’ for expanding coverage to thousands of uninsured under the health-care law, with the federal government promising to pay most of the cost. Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other Democrats who favor expansion have been betting on that pressure to sway Republicans, particularly in rural areas where hospitals are often the largest employer and are ­eager for the financial girding that the coverage expansion would provide…”

ACA and Health Insurance Coverage

  • Number of Americans without health insurance reaches new low, By Noam N. Levey, April 7, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “The share of Americans without health insurance has dropped to the lowest level since before President Obama took office, according to a new national survey that provides more evidence the healthcare law is extending coverage to millions of the previously uninsured. Just 14.7% of adults lacked coverage in the second half of March, down from 18% in the last quarter of 2013, the survey from Gallup found. The survey results, which track with other recent polling data and enrollment reports, indicate that about 8 million people have gained health insurance since September. That figure takes into account any losses in coverage the law may have brought about by the cancellation of health plans that did not meet the new standards…”
  • Nearly 4 million seriously mentally ill still without insurance, By Michael Ollove, April 8, 2014, Stateline: “Some might consider Kelly Troyer of South Carolina lucky. She isn’t one of them. Thanks to the generosity of her church and family members, she receives some treatment for the depression and post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers as a result of the sexual assault she endured in 2012. But Troyer, 45, said her lack of health insurance and other uncovered medical costs, including a hospitalization and all her medications, has forced her into personal bankruptcy. She lives in one of the 24 states that chose not to expand their Medicaid programs, offered under the Affordable Care Act. Those decisions have left about 3.7 million Americans with serious mental illness, psychological distress or a substance abuse disorder without health insurance, according to a recent report from the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), a group that represents mental health professionals…”
  • More in Denver signed up for Medicaid than for private insurance, By Arthur Kane, April 10, 2014, Denver Post: “In Denver, 2½ times as many people enrolled in the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program from October through the first quarter of 2014 as those who signed up for private insurance through the state exchange, state figures show. And in Colorado and nationwide, Medicaid enrollments outpace private insurance registrants. Colorado ranked 11th in the nation of states with the highest percentage of Medicaid enrollments compared with private insurance subscribers through marketplaces as of the end of February, a Denver Post analysis of federal numbers shows…”
  • Medicaid enrollment rises 8 percent in Florida, By Kelli Kennedy (AP), April 11, 2014, Florida Today: “Florida’s Republican lawmakers remain staunchly opposed to expanding Medicaid — a system they’ve repeatedly said is too expensive and doesn’t improve health outcomes. Yet Florida’s Medicaid rolls are expanding under the Affordable Care Act. That’s because people trying to sign up for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s new health law are finding out — to their surprise — that they qualify for Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor…”

ACA and Medicaid Enrollment

  • Law lifts enrollment in Medicaid by millions, By Robert Pear, April 4, 2014, New York Times: “Enrollment in Medicaid has increased by three million people, to a total of 62 million, largely because of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration said Friday. As expected, the increases have been much greater in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility…”
  • Medicaid sign-ups are up 3M, By David Morgan, April 6, 2014, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Three million lower-income Americans have enrolled in the Medicaid program for the poor so far during the rollout of President Obama’s health-care law, the administration announced on Friday. That brings to more than 10 million the number of people who have signed up for both public and private health coverage since Oct. 1 under the Affordable Care Act. This week, the White House said there were 7.1 million sign-ups as of March 31 for private plans through new web-based marketplaces operating in all 50 states, a total that exceeded most expectations. More were partially enrolled at the deadline and not yet counted…”
  • Medicaid enrollment rises in Florida, nation, By Daniel Chang, April 4, 2014, Miami Herald: “Enrollment in Medicaid rose by about 245,000 people in Florida from October through February , reflecting a national trend as people who were previously eligible but not enrolled signed up for the state-federal health program for low-income Americans, federal officials reported Friday. The increase, which officials linked to the health insurance enrollment process for the Affordable Care Act, comes despite the Florida Legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid…”

Medicaid Expansion – Michigan

Medicaid enrollment to open April 1 despite early roadblocks, By Robin Erb, March 20, 2014, Detroit Free Press: “Michigan’s long-awaited new Medicaid program — one that may extend health care coverage to 470,000 people — will open as planned at 12:01 a.m. April 1, despite bureaucratic and technical frustrations that had left thousands wondering whether the promise of the 2010 Affordable Care Act had left them behind. Expecting a heavy first burst of applications, offices for the Michigan Department of Human Services will extend hours during the first days and phone lines will open from 8 a.m. to midnight to accept applications to the program, called Healthy Michigan…”

Medicaid Expansion – Maine, Nebraska

  • Maine House takes up struggling Medicaid expansion bill, By Mario Moretto, March 18, 2014, Bangor Daily News: “About a week after it passed the Senate, but with less than the two-thirds support needed to muscle past a certain gubernatorial veto, the Maine House of Representatives on Tuesday will consider a bill aimed at expanding Medicaid to more than 70,000 low-income Mainers as part of the federal Affordable Care Act…”
  • Nebraska lawmakers won’t expand Medicaid this year, By Christine Scalora (AP), March 19, 2104, Centre Daily Times: “A proposal to expand health care coverage to low-income Nebraskans won’t make it out of the Legislature this year. Lawmakers fell six votes short of stopping the filibuster on the bill Wednesday after debating the measure for eight hours. It will not be taken up again in this legislative session. The ‘Wellness in Nebraska Act,’ laid out a plan to help cover health care costs for about 54,000 residents by mid-2015 through a combination of Medicaid and subsidized private health insurance. It would cost an estimated $62 million between July of this year and June 2020…”

Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance Enrollment

  • Little-known health act fact: Prison inmates are signing up, By Erica Goode, March 9, 2014, New York Times: “In a little-noticed outcome of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, jails and prisons around the country are beginning to sign up inmates for health insurance under the law, taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that allows states to extend coverage to single and childless adults — a major part of the prison population. State and counties are enrolling inmates for two main reasons. Although Medicaid does not cover standard health care for inmates, it can pay for their hospital stays beyond 24 hours — meaning states can transfer millions of dollars of obligations to the federal government…”
  • Health care law survey: Uninsured rate continues to drop, By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (AP), March 10, 2014, Dallas Morning News: “The share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics — a big pool of potential beneficiaries. With just three weeks left to enroll on the new insurance exchanges, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, finds that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter — of 2013…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • NC proposes experimental health networks for Medicaid patients, By Lynn Bonner, February 26, 2014, News and Observer: “State officials rolled out a plan Wednesday for changes in the state Medicaid program that are a huge step away from the managed-care proposal Gov. Pat McCrory and top state Department of Health and Human Services officials pitched last year. The new proposal avoids a fight with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers over the future of the $13 billion government health insurance program that covers about 1.7 million poor children and their parents, elderly people and disabled people…”
  • Gov. Gary Herbert offers ‘Utah solution’ to Medicaid expansion, By Lisa Riley Roche, February 27, 2014, Deseret News: “Gov. Gary Herbert offered his own ‘Utah solution’ to Medicaid expansion Thursday, calling for a new state-run program that would be paid for through a block grant from the federal government. Herbert’s ‘Healthy Utah’ plan would seek a block grant from the federal government to cover about the same number of needy Utahns as accepting the full expansion of Medicaid offered under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But instead of receiving Medicaid, the estimated 111,000 Utahns earning less than $15,500 a year would each pay about $420 a year toward private insurance and medical expenses…”
  • Medicaid recipients may stay in system even if they don’t qualify, By Meredith Cohn, February 27, 2014, Baltimore Sun: “Maryland must spend as much as $30.5 million more to provide Medicaid coverage to Marylanders because the state’s glitch-riddled health exchange website can’t tell whether they are still eligible. It’s another problem exacerbated by the software that has been causing headaches since the exchange website launched on Oct. 1 for those trying to get into the expanded Medicaid program or buy private insurance with subsidies…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • Virginia and other states wrestle with whether to expand Medicaid under Affordable Care Act, By Laura Vozzella, February 23, 2014, Washington Post: “It was a purely symbolic vote, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe desperately wanted it to go his way. The Democratic governor summoned at least four Republican delegates to his office one by one last week, twisting their arms to support expanding Medicaid in a floor vote the GOP was forcing just for show. The effort backfired. Not only did the House trounce expansion later that day, but one of the four accused McAuliffe of threatening to kill a jobs program in his economically distressed district if he did not go along. McAuliffe’s office said no threat was made, but his last-minute lobbying shows how high the stakes are as legislators in Richmond and statehouses across the country wrestle with whether to boost enrollments in Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act…”
  • Tough road for states seeking customized Medicaid expansion, By Christine Vestal, February 24, 2014, Stateline: “Of the 25 states that already have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, all but Arkansas, Iowa and Michigan simply added newly eligible adults to their existing Medicaid programs. That was the easiest approach. In contrast, the states that haven’t yet expanded Medicaid but are considering doing so want to tailor the program to fit their own priorities—and that will take time…”
  • Could Medicaid expansion debate turn into an immigration issue?, By Julie Appleby and Patricia Borns, February 23, 2014, Miami Herald: “Florida lawmakers backing expansion of the state’s Medicaid program plan to mount a new argument this legislative session: That voting against extending the program would deprive low-income U.S. citizens of access to insurance that is available to some legal immigrants. At issue is a little-noticed provision of the federal health law that allows some low-income immigrants who live here legally to qualify for subsidies to help them buy private insurance through online marketplaces. Poor U.S. citizens are not eligible for those subsidies because the law provided for an expansion of Medicaid to help them get coverage. A U.S. Supreme court ruling made this provision voluntary, and Florida was among two dozen states that opted out, leaving an estimated 760,000 state residents ineligible for either subsidies or Medicaid…”
  • Corbett’s final health plan: gentler, but still an outlier, By Amy Worden and Don Sapatkin, February 19, 2014, Philadelphia Inquirer: “The Corbett administration on Wednesday submitted a softer version of its Medicaid proposal that restores some benefits, but is still viewed by analysts as the most extreme state plan to expand coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The state seeks to use federal Medicaid dollars to subsidize commercial insurance for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians. Just two other states have won approval for the type of alternative coverage plans Gov. Corbett wants to pursue. The new waiver application delays until 2016 controversial changes that would apply to all able- bodied Medicaid recipients – specifically monthly premium payments and work search requirements – and lifts some limits on coverage proposed in its draft application released late last year…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • House and Senate in Virginia at loggerheads over Medicaid expansion, By Michael Laris and Laura Vozzella, February 20, 2014, Washington Post: “Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly Thursday to reject Medicaid expansion, signaling in the strongest terms yet that the chamber does not intend to budge on the marquee issue of this year’s legislative session. With the 67 to 32 vote, an impasse is seen as all but inevitable with the state Senate, where Democrats and moderate Republicans have joined to support expanding Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. Both houses passed their respective budget proposals Thursday, so the measure — and all other budget differences between the two chambers — will be taken up in negotiations next week…”
  • W.Va. a leader in Medicaid expansion enrollment, By Lydia Nuzum, February 20, 2014, Charleston Gazette: “West Virginia has exceeded expectations in an area nearly half of states have yet to take up the challenge — expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. More than 87,000 residents –70 percent of the roughly 130,000 eligible in the state — have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program, officials say. Jeremiah Samples, assistant secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and representatives from Kentucky, Oregon and Washington presented their strategies for enrolling eligible citizens in Medicaid during a conference call sponsored by Families USA, the largest national organization representing health-care consumers…”
  • ‘Gap’ in coverage leaves some without health insurance, By Yamil Berard, February 17, 2014, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Linda Berman was forced to file for personal bankruptcy in 2012 after a four-day stay in the hospital left her with thousands of dollars in hospital bills. So the 63-year-old Lake Dallas resident, who is diabetic and has been without health insurance since 2009, hoped she could find affordable insurance once the federal health exchanges opened under the Affordable Care Act. But she says it’s still too expensive.  Berman, a self-employed performer who uses bubbles to educate children about math and science at area libraries, learned that she is one of millions of Americans who have fallen into a new unintended coverage gap created by the healthcare law and by Texas leaders’ decision not to expand Medicaid…”

Medicaid Coverage and Prison Inmates

Ohio among states pushing prisoners on Medicaid, By Lisa Bernard-Kuhn, February 18, 2014, USA Today: “Landing time in an Ohio prison could also soon get you help enrolling into health care coverage under Obamacare. Ohio is among a small but growing number of states working to enroll prisoners into Medicaid when they get sick and as they are being released. The move could save the state nearly $18 million this year alone in costs of providing health care to prisoners — money that would be shifted onto the federal government’s tab. Longer term, prison and health care officials say it also could help curb the number of repeat offenders as more ex-prisoners gain access to needed mental health services and substance abuse programs, benefits now required to be covered under the health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • Millions trapped in health-law coverage gap, By Christopher Weaver, February 10, 2014, Wall Street Journal: “Ernest Maiden was dumbfounded to learn that he falls through the cracks of the health-care law because in a typical week he earns about $200 from the Happiness and Hair Beauty and Barber Salon. Like millions of other Americans caught in a mismatch of state and federal rules, the 57-year-old hair stylist doesn’t make enough money to qualify for federal subsidies to buy health insurance. If he earned another $1,300 a year, the government would pay the full cost. Instead, coverage would cost about what he earns…”
  • In Arkansas, ‘private option’ Medicaid plan could be derailed, By Abby Goodnough, February 10, 2014, New York Times: “Last year, the Republicans who control this state’s Legislature devised a politically palatable way to expand Medicaid under President Obama’s health care law. They won permission to use federal expansion funds to buy private insurance for as many as 250,000 poor people instead of adding them to traditional Medicaid, which conservatives disparage as a broken entitlement program. But just as the idea is catching fire in other states with Republican or divided leadership — Iowa has adopted a version of the plan, and New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah and other states are exploring similar avenues — Arkansas may abruptly reverse course, potentially leaving the 83,000 people who have signed up so far without insurance as soon as July 1…”
  • Medicaid puts more clients in managed care, by Phil Galewitz, February 10, 2014, USA Today: “Inside his family’s trailer home, Israel Cortes sits in his bomber jacket at the kitchen table, doing his best to talk despite the tracheotomy tube in his throat. Communicating in whispers and handwritten notes, Cortes, 60, is frustrated at the slow pace of his recovery from a stroke but relieved to be home with his mother and brother after four months in a nursing home. ‘The nursing home was a place to go and die,’ he tells his case worker from Sunshine Health, a Medicaid managed care plan. Jodie Muenz, a social worker by training who helped Cortes get home before Christmas, assures him that he is getting better and will be able to drive soon. ‘Focus on the positive,’ she says, after inspecting the trailer to make sure he can get around safely with his cane…”

ACA and Health Insurance Coverage

  • Finding uninsured Americans by the numbers, By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (AP), February 5, 2014, ABC News: “Wanted: Millions of uninsured Americans willing to give President Barack Obama’s health care law a chance. With time running out, it may not be so hard for the administration and its allies to find them. A study for The Associated Press finds that the uninsured aren’t scattered evenly across the country: half of them live in just 116 of the nation’s 3,143 counties. That means outreach targeted to select areas can pay off big, reaching millions of prospective customers needed to stabilize the law’s new insurance markets…”
  • Fewer than 2 million signed up for Medicaid under the health law, report says, By Sandhya Somashekhar and Lena H. Sun, February 5, 2014, Washington Post: “Between 1 million and 2 million Americans signed up for Medicaid last year because of the health-care law, according to a new report suggesting that many of the people who have joined the program since the initiative’s rollout in October would have done so absent the law. The Obama administration has said that 6.3 million people were determined to be eligible for Medicaid between October and December. But the study, from health-care industry consulting firm Avalere Health, suggests that only a fraction of the enrollments are strictly the result of the health-care law…”
  • Washington Medicaid enrollments surpassing expectations, By John Webster, February 5, 2014, Spokane Spokesman-Review: “With two months to go, Washington residents are pouring by the thousands through the online gateway to 2014 health insurance coverage, blowing away expectations for Medicaid enrollments, the expanded government program for the working poor and their children. In Spokane County, one in four residents relies on Medicaid coverage…”

ACA and Medicaid

  • Waivers pave way for Medicaid expansion in some states, By Michael Ollove, January 27, 2014, USA Today: “When the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that states could decide for themselves if they would expand Medicaid eligibility, many thought states were left with a yes or no proposition. Simple. Except nothing is ever simple when it comes to either the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid, the federal-state partnership that provides health care to America’s poor. Some states want to expand Medicaid, but in their own way. Lucky for them, there is a process that enables them to do so…”
  • Health law tricky for parents of Medicaid kids; chance of getting stuck in the system raises concerns, By Holly Ramer (AP), January 26 2014, Deseret News: “Families shopping for health insurance through the new federal marketplace are running into trouble getting everyone covered when children are eligible for Medicaid but their parents are not. Children who qualify for Medicaid, the safety-net program for the poor and disabled, can’t be included on subsidized family plans purchased through the federal marketplace, a fact that is taking many parents by surprise and leaving some kids stuck without coverage…”

ACA and Medicaid Expansion

  • Momentum builds for Medicaid expansion in states, By Kelly Kennedy, January 23, 2014, USA Today: “A series of new reports and a push by a new governor show the continued pressure to expand Medicaid in the 25 states that have so far resisted changes in the federal-state program to provide health care to low-income Americans. States that opposed expansion because they believed they could not afford it are also finding that their Medicaid rolls are growing anyway, as the opening of the federal health care exchanges Oct. 1 started a new surge of enrollment for those eligible for coverage under the current program. A report released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that 6.3 million people have joined Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program since Oct. 1…”
  • Medicaid expansion is causing health care disparities among low-income women, report says, By Angela Townsend, January 23, 2014, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “A report released this week by the National Women’s Law Center asserts the emergence of a gap in health care between low-income women with and without health insurance in the wake states deciding whether or not to expand Medicaid coverage. Low-income women without insurance who live in one of the 25 states without expanded coverage are significantly less likely to get basic health care and preventive services such as mammograms and HIV testing than low-income women with public or private health insurance, according to the report…”
  • Little-known aspect of Medicaid now causing people to avoid coverage, By Sandhya Somashekhar, January 23, 2014, Washington Post: “Add this to the scary but improbable things people are hearing could happen because of the new federal health-care law: After you die, the state could come after your house. The concern arises from a long-standing but little-known aspect of Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health coverage to millions of low-income Americans. In certain cases, a state can recoup its medical costs by putting a claim on a deceased person’s assets. This is not an issue for people buying private coverage on online marketplaces. And experts say it is unlikely that the millions of people in more than two dozen states becoming eligible for Medicaid under the program’s expansion will be affected by this rule. But the fear that the government could one day seize their homes is deterring some people from signing up…”

ACA and Medicaid

Law’s expanded Medicaid coverage brings a surge in sign-ups, By Sabrina Tavernise, January 20, 2014, New York Times: “Sharon Mills, a disabled nurse, long depended on other people’s kindness to manage her diabetes. She scrounged free samples from doctors’ offices, signed up for drug company discounts and asked for money from her parents and friends. Her church often helped, but last month used its charitable funds to help repair other members’ furnaces. Ms. Mills, 54, who suffered renal failure last year after having irregular access to medication, said her dependence on others left her feeling helpless and depressed. ‘I got to the point when I decided I just didn’t want to be here anymore,’ she said. So when a blue slip of paper arrived in the mail this month with a new Medicaid number on it — part of the expanded coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act — Ms. Mills said she felt as if she could breathe again for the first time in years…”

ACA and Medicaid

  • Churning between Medicaid and exchanges could leave gaps in coverage, experts warn, By Jenni Bergal, January 5, 2014, Washington Post: “While government officials have spent months scrambling to fix the federal health-care law’s botched rollout, another issue is looming that could create new headaches for states, health plans — and patients. In 2014, millions of people are expected to shift between the health exchanges and Medicaid as their income fluctuates. That could be costly for states and insurance companies, and patients could wind up having gaps in coverage or having to switch health plans or doctors…”
  • Thousands waiting for Medicaid coverage are stuck in limbo, By Phil Galewitz, January 6, 2014, NBC News: “For years, Obama administration officials talked about how the health law’s online marketplaces would offer a seamless shopping experience for consumers looking for health coverage. But that’s turned out to be an empty promise for many low-income people who went to healthcare.gov, the federal enrollment portal, and were deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In five states alone — Florida, Texas, Illinois, South Carolina and Arizona — about 104,000 people are still waiting to get enrolled in the public programs after trying to sign up through healthcare.gov, according to state officials and advocacy groups…”

ACA and Medicaid

  • Obamacare health plan enrollments rise sharply in December, By Noam N. Levey, December 29, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “More than 1.1 million people have enrolled in health insurance plans through the marketplace operated by the federal government, the Obama administration announced Sunday. A late-December surge in sign-ups — combined with rising enrollment on similar marketplaces operated by 14 states and the District of Columbia — means that about 2 million people nationwide appear to have signed up for health coverage under President Obama’s health law since Oct. 1. Not all states have reported their enrollment numbers through Dec. 24, so an exact tally is not available…”
  • With new year, Medicaid takes on a broader health-care role, By Sandhya Somashekhar and Karen Tumulty, December 31, 2013, Washington Post: “Medicaid embarks on a massive transformation Wednesday — from a safety-net program for the most vulnerable to a broad-based one that finds itself at the front lines of the continuing political and ideological battle over the Affordable Care Act. Already the nation’s largest health-care program, Medicaid is being expanded and reshaped by the law to cover a wider array of people. Among them will be many who consider themselves middle class — people such as Sandy Kush, who initially bristled when she learned that she would be joining a program she had always thought of as being only for the poor…”
  • 2014 Look Ahead: Medicaid expansion faces tough road in Wyoming – again, By Joshua Wolfson, January 1, 2014, Casper Star-Tribune: “No one disputes Wyoming could save millions of dollars by expanding Medicaid to roughly 17,000 uninsured residents. But the potential windfall, first announced by state health officials in 2012, has done little to endear the plan to state leaders. In the fall of 2012, Gov. Matt Mead advised against following the Affordable Care Act and growing the program. Lawmakers soundly defeated expansion proposals in both the House and the Senate in the 2013 Legislative session…”

ACA and Medicaid – Minnesota, Wisconsin

Neighboring states diverge on health care, By Nora G. Hertel and James Nord, December 23, 2013, Chippewa Herald: “People in Wisconsin and Minnesota living just barely above the poverty line are about to see their health care fortunes change — in opposite directions. Lisa Nerenhausen is one of those people. Nerenhausen and her husband, who live in Appleton, will likely lose their Medicaid coverage when the state changes its eligibility standards in response to the Affordable Care Act. ‘It’s stressful for us, who are just above the poverty level, to try to figure this out,’ Nerenhausen said of the transition…”

ACA and Medicaid Coverage

  • Medicaid expansion can aid African Americans, report says, By Kelly Kennedy, December 10, 2013, USA Today: “About six out of 10 uninsured African Americans may be eligible for free or greatly reduced health insurance through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to a new report the government issued Tuesday. The announcement comes as the Obama administration continues its push to persuade the 20 states that have not expanded Medicaid to do so, including North Carolina, which is one of six states with the highest numbers of uninsured African Americans, according to the report…”
  • Ohio’s Medicaid-enrollment website works smoothly on first day, By Catherine Candisky, December 10, 2013, Columbus Dispatch: “Online enrollment began yesterday for Ohio’s newly expanded Medicaid program, allowing more than 1,100 low-income residents to sign up for tax-funded health insurance by the end of the day. State officials said it’s likely the largest number ever to sign up for benefits in a single day…”
  • Amid the uproar over the health law, voices of quiet optimism and relief, By Abby Goodnough, Katie Thomas and Reed Abelson, December 8, 2013, New York Times: “Since his chronic leukemia was diagnosed in 2010, Ray Acosta has paid dearly for health insurance: more than $800 a month in premiums, plus steep co-payments for the drug that helps keep him alive. Mr. Acosta, 57, owns a small moving company in Sierra Vista, Ariz., which he said had barely made it through the recession. He was thinking about dropping his coverage, but the insurance company beat him to it, informing him recently that it would cancel his policy at year’s end. He sought advice from an insurance agent who had used his moving company. She connected him with an application counselor at a community health center, who found — to Mr. Acosta’s astonishment — that he qualified for Medicaid under the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, which gives states the option of expanding the program to include more low-income adults…”
  • Without Medicaid, what will happen to this Portland man?, By Luisa Deprez and Sandy Butler, November 29, 2013, Bangor Daily News: “Thomas Ptacek is 46 and lives in Portland. He is single, has never married and has no kids. Thomas’s concerns are about the future — his and those like him. He is plagued by thoughts of his father’s and aunt’s multiple sclerosis and any genetic predisposition he might have to it. He is plagued by thoughts of the hip replacement surgeries both his father and brother have had, by the re-occurring knee pain from an injury he had while in the military, and by the new nagging pain in his ankle. If any of these occur or get worse, how will he cope? How will he get the medical care he may need..?”
  • Enrollment errors put medical coverage at risk, By Robert Pear, December 6, 2013, New York Times: “The Obama administration said Friday that the enrollment records for roughly a quarter of all the people who signed up for health insurance on its website in October and November could contain errors, raising questions about whether those consumers would get coverage in time to pay for their medical care next month. Even now, the administration said, it may be sending incomplete or erroneous information to insurers for one in every 10 people who enroll…”
  • Federal exchange sends unqualified people to Medicaid, By Jayne O’Donnell, December 9, 2013, USA Today: “The federal health care exchange is incorrectly determining that some people are eligible for Medicaid when they clearly are not, leaving them with little chance to get the subsidized insurance they are entitled to as the Dec. 23 deadline for enrollment approaches. State and industry officials haven’t quantified the problem yet, but the National Association of State Medicaid Directors may release information next week after following up on reports from around the country, says Executive Director Matt Salo…”