Caroline's Feed
Dec 12, 2013

For some Obamacare shoppers, a brief grace period on premiums

NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) – As a deadline approaches for
people to sign up for medical insurance under President Barack
Obama’s healthcare law, some insurers and state-run online
marketplaces are giving shoppers an extra week to pay their
first premiums.

The shift to early January from the end of December provides
a short grace period for insurers and shoppers to work through
any errors in the new policies caused by technology problems
dogging enrollment since it opened on Oct. 1.

Dec 6, 2013

Health website transactions fail 10 percent of time: U.S. official

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – As millions of people shop online for new insurance plans under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, about 10 percent of applications to the main website are not being accurately transmitted, a government spokeswoman said on Friday.

The error rate has improved since HealthCare.gov’s disastrous debut on October 1, which created a political crisis for Obama as opponents and supporters of the law questioned whether the most sweeping social program since the 1960s was rushed well before it was ready. Last week, the White House wrapped up a five-week emergency effort to fix the most obvious of the website’s technical problems.

Dec 4, 2013

Short-term fix eyed for another problem with U.S. healthcare website

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration has found a short-term fix to pay insurance companies for plans selected on HealthCare.gov, the not-yet-complete government website used to shop for insurance required under Obama’s healthcare program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet finished building the part of the website that would transfer billions of dollars in subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.

Nov 22, 2013

California exchange rejects extension of Obamacare-canceled plans

By Lewis Krauskopf and Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – California’s new health exchange will not allow canceled policies to extend past the end of the year, defying President Barack Obama’s effort to repair his pledge that people can keep their current plans.

The announcement on Thursday by the most populous U.S. state, an early supporter of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, marked the latest state to reject the president’s fix, which he announced last week after taking political fire for not keeping his promise to allow people to keep their plans if they like them.

Nov 20, 2013

Small health insurers fear Obamacare woes will tilt playing field

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As the White House tries to address consumer anger and technical problems tied to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, its proposed fixes risk undermining a key ally in the law’s newly established insurance markets.

Created with $2 billion in government loans, some two dozen not-for-profit health co-ops are meant to provide consumers with more choice in the Obamacare exchanges against far larger players like Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna Inc.

Nov 15, 2013

State insurance regulators hesitate to embrace Obamacare fix

By Caroline Humer and Curtis Skinner

(Reuters) – Many U.S. states are hesitant to embrace President Barack Obama’s fix to keep Americans from losing health insurance plans that do not comply with his healthcare reform, saying they need to figure out how to resurrect canceled policies and whether to allow insurers to raise prices.

California, Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, and Ohio said they would act on Obama’s offer, announced on Thursday, to give a one-year extension to existing policies. Washington, Vermont and Rhode Island – all of which are running their own state-based insurance exchanges – said they would not.

Nov 14, 2013

Obamacare ‘fix’ creates new headaches, say insurers and regulators

NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Insurers and state regulators
say they fear that President Barack Obama’s “fix” for policies
canceled under his healthcare reform law could create new
problems and lead to an increase in premiums.

Facing pressure by lawmakers from his Democratic Party,
Obama said on Thursday that insurers could extend by a year
policies that were due to be canceled in 2014 because they do
not comply with higher standards of benefits and other
requirements under the 2010 law, commonly called Obamacare.

Nov 14, 2013

Low enrollment figures underscore Obamacare woes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A tiny fraction of the hoped-for millions have signed up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, the government said on Wednesday, highlighting the scale of problems bedeviling Obama’s biggest domestic policy achievement.

While the low figure of 106,000 enrollments was expected because of website technical failures, they showed how far the White House has to go to build a new individual market of millions of consumers in 2014 to keep the healthcare program financially viable.

Nov 13, 2013

Low Obamacare enrollment figures turns up heat on White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – About 106,000 people signed up for insurance coverage nationally under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law during October, the government said on Wednesday, a tiny fraction of the millions of people that had been expected to enroll for next year.

The Obama administration had signaled enrollment would be very low in October because of technical failures that have hobbled the HealthCare.gov website used for signing people up in 36 states. But the reported figures show how far the White House has to go to build a new individual market of millions of consumers in 2014 to keep the healthcare program financially viable.

Nov 11, 2013

Initial Obamacare enrollment estimates far short of targets: reports

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Initial enrollment estimates for President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform program show participation is falling far short of expectations, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, raising pressure on the White House to get its rollout back on track.

Fewer than 50,000 Americans were able to sign up for new Obamacare health insurance plans in October through the error-plagued HealthCare.gov website, below the federal government’s target, the newspaper reported on Monday, citing two people familiar with the matter. The data is from 36 states.