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Obamacare

The Washington post

The number of uninsured Americans has dropped to its lowest level since before the Great Recession, reports The Washington Post.

The gains in insured citizens came primarily among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, those obtaining insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Several key Texas lawmakers have shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in Texas, according to The Texas Tribune.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Rural Americans are benefitting greatly from the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, rural citizens are gaining health insurance coverage faster than their urban counterparts, as member station KMUW reports. 

This is especially striking given that two-thirds of uninsured rural people live in states like Kansas and Texas that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility.

Public Domain

Health premiums under the Affordable Care Act could rise more next year than in previous years, according to Kaiser Health News. Premiums for one popular type of “silver” plan could rise 10 percent in 2017. This year that same plan’s cost only rose five percent. Projections are based on preliminary insurance rates filed with state regulators. These rates are still subject to federal review.

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From the Kansas Health Institute:

Doctors-in-training learn a lot about the workings of the human body during medical school and residency. But many are taught next to nothing about the workings of the health care system. One university in Washington, D.C., is trying to change that.

Carl Juste / MBR/Houston Chroncile

Five nonprofit organizations in Texas have been awarded almost $5 million by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports The Houston Chronicle. The money will go toward boosting efforts to enroll the state's nearly three-quarters of a million uninsured children.

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From the Kansas Health Institute:

The Obama administration on Wednesday moved to sharply limit short-term health insurance plans, which a growing number of consumers have been buying even though they offer less coverage than what the Affordable Care Act decreed all people should have.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Health advocates cheered this week when Oklahoma officials announced they were considering expanding Medicaid in that state. Oklahoma has been missing out on millions of federal health care dollars with its decision to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. But with ballooning budget problems and rising health care costs in the state, opting out no longer seems viable. And that means Texas could be next, reports member station KUT.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Most Americans want the government to pay for health care, a new poll shows. According to KRMG Tulsa, 58 percent favor replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, with a federally funded health care program.

Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Despite lower uninsured rates that in previous eras, Texas still has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, reports member station KUT. And those rates seem to differ according to racial and ethnic lines, according to new evidence.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

While many Texans have signed up for Obamacare in recent years, a new study has found that many of them may not understand what they’ve signed up for, reports CNBC. According to new research, people who get health coverage through their jobs or government-run programs like Medicare are generally familiar with terms like premium, deductible and co-pay. But Texans who buy coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace are less comfortable with these terms.

Marketplace Enrollment Climbs in Kansas, Missouri

Feb 9, 2016
US Department of Health and Human Services

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The enrollment period for the federal health insurance marketplace closed Monday night, with higher enrollment than last year in Kansas and Missouri.

Brett Deering / New York Times

An intrepid team of insurance counselors is stepping up efforts to enroll Oklahomans in medical coverage. They’re doing all they can before the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period ends on Sunday. But, as The New York Times reports, the group is facing massive resistance. Oklahoma is one of the most hostile states to the health law.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

When it comes to enrolling the uninsured on Healthcare.gov, Florida is crushing Texas. And the competition isn’t even close, reports The Dallas Morning News. 1.6 million Floridians have signed up for private insurance plans this year. That’s compared to only 1.1 million Texans. Why the disparity, when Texas has more people than Florida? The Sunshine State is more compact. Florida has 75 percent of Texas’s population, crammed into one quarter of its real estate.

John Moore / Getty Images

Colorado has been a trailblazer in the legalization of marijuana, and now the state is looking to break new ground in health care. Next year Coloradans will vote on whether to become the first state to set up a single-payer system similar to Medicare. The move would mean opting out of ObamaCare, reports The Guardian. No state currently has free statewide healthcare.

Amarillo Vaccine Program a Success

Oct 6, 2015
amarillo.com

Last year Amarillo created a program to protect residents from disease. And now that program is growing, reports Amarillo.com. The effort to immunize moderate- to low-income adults has given a few hundred more immunizations this year over last year. The city expects the number to increase by another few hundred vaccinations next year. Last week the Amarillo City Council voted to pay over half a million dollars for the vaccines it will take for the adult program.

feinburgconsulting.com / Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The health law’s upcoming enrollment period may be its toughest yet, with federal officials promising a vigorous outreach campaign to enroll millions of eligible yet hard-to-reach Americans who have yet to sign up for health insurance.

Kansas Health Institute
Pixabay / Creative Commons

The federal health reform law known as the Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from considering pre-existing health conditions when setting premiums for consumers. But they are able to consider age, location and tobacco use.

And that means some Kansans who smoke are charged higher insurance rates, which may discourage low-income smokers from getting health coverage, according to a new issue brief from the Kansas Health Institute.

Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

Enrollment in Oklahoma’s state-supported health insurance program continues to dwindle, reports Public Radio Tulsa. The program, known as “Insure Oklahoma,” has been shrinking steadily for five years.

US Uninsured Rate Reaches Record Lows

Aug 11, 2015
jasleen_kaur / Flickr Creative Commons

The rate of uninsured citizens in the US continues to reach record lows, reports the Center for Rural Affairs. A recent Gallup report shows the rate falling 12 percent in the second quarter of 2015.Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, the rate of uninsured Americans has fallen by over 36%. Before the implementation of the ACA, the US uninsured rate was a persistent and growing problem. The problem was made worse by the Great Recession of 2008.

Alex Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute

Once again, the majority of the nation’s hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for having patients frequently return within a month of discharge — this time losing a combined $420 million, government records show.

Robert Deutsch / USA TODAY

USA TODAY reports that, not only are more Americans becoming eligible for Medicare, they are increasingly sicker than their predecessors. Diagnoses of kidney disease, depression and high cholesterol have seen double-digit increases since 2008. In addition, over half of all Medicare beneficiaries have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Two-thirds of today’s Medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic conditions, and 15% have at least six long-term ailments.

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From Kaiser Health News:

Even in Kentucky, which championed the 2010 health care law by expanding Medicaid and running its own insurance marketplace, about half of poor people say they have heard little about the Affordable Care Act, according to a Harvard University study published Monday in Health Affairs.

AAFP

Federal officials estimate that more than 1.3 million Kansans now have private health insurance that includes preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has more. 

  This story comes from Kansas Public Radio.

Feds Warn, Use It or Lose It

Apr 27, 2015
Kansas Health Institute

An ultimatum has been laid down by the federal government that Kansas and Tennessee officials need to expand Medicaid or risk losing hospital funds.

These states could be jeopardizing special funding to pay hospitals by not expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

A special enrollment period for health insurance through the federal marketplace started Sunday. But, not everyone's eligible.

KHI News Service

News that Gov. Sam Brownback has softened his position on Medicaid expansion wasn’t exactly racing through the Statehouse on Thursday.

But it certainly had some legislators buzzing.

In remarks Wednesday to conservative lawmakers in Missouri, Brownback said if the Kansas Legislature presented him with a budget-neutral expansion bill, he would likely sign it, according to a report in the Missouri Times.

According to a recent survey, Kansas is the only state with an increased number of uninsured.

schiffner.com

Obamacare enrollment grew by nearly 70 percent in both Kansas and Missouri during the most recent sign-up period, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The number of Kansans enrolled in health insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act marketplace increased to 96,226 from 57,013. Missouri enrollment jumped to 253,969 from 152,335.

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