Rebecca Adams

States Perplexed by White House Silence On Obamacare Contingencies

With the fate of President Barack Obama’s top legislative accomplishment hanging in the balance, state officials are increasingly concerned by the administration’s refusal to discuss contingency plans for insurance markets, should the Supreme Court later this month strike down 2010 health care law subsidies for 6.4 million low- and middle-income people.

Key Facts About Medicare Advantage

The Medicare Advantage program has grown from almost 7 million people, or 17 percent of beneficiaries in 2000, to about 16 million people in 2014, or 30 percent of beneficiaries.

Medicare Advantage Cuts Face Bipartisan Opposition

Senior citizens offering cookies and coffee are hard to reject. At least, that’s what supporters of insurance companies that cover people in Medicare are hoping. Recently, insurance-industry lobbyists brought people enrolled in private Medicare plans to Capitol Hill with a food truck, gave them red aprons to wear and asked them to talk about why Medicare should not cut payments to the insurers.

New Year of Open Enrollment Brings Choices, Changes

People who bought insurance through the marketplaces created last year by the new health care law and who were then offered medical coverage through an employer may feel as if they have more choices than ever before. But the arcane rules about federal subsidies for buying coverage could wind up costing them in the long run.

HHS Pledges Easier Health Care Signups, But Open Enrollment May Bring Extra Bills

This year, 37 states will use healthcare.gov as the website to enroll people through the marketplaces created by the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). The rest have their own websites. The sign-up period goes from Nov. 15 until Feb. 15.

Containing Ebola May Hinge on Volunteers, Not Money

Congress appears ready to commit tens of millions of dollars to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, but containing the deadly virus will hinge more on finding enough private sector volunteers and government scientists to disinfect corpses, monitor individuals likely to come into contact with infected patients and test the blood of tens of thousands of people suspected to having the disease in four affected nations.

Nursing Homes Have Larger Reach Than Rehab Hospitals

Rehabilitation hospitals and skilled nursing homes at odds over whether their Medicare payments should be the same have different industry profiles.

Nursing Homes and Rehab Hospitals Square Off Over Payments

Medicare patients who need rehabilitation after a hospital stay can get their care from several types of medical providers. Depending on their medical needs and other factors, they may be able to get treatment from a specialized rehab hospital, at home with help from home health care aides or outpatient therapists, or in a nursing facility.

How Website Woes Foiled Obamacare a Second Time

To estimate how many Medicaid applicants are sitting on waiting lists, CQ Roll Call called and emailed officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and combined estimates from the 41 that responded as of May 29.

The Hidden Failure of Obama's Health Care Overhaul

At least 2.9 million Americans who signed up for Medicaid coverage as part of the health care overhaul have not had their applications processed, with some paperwork sitting in queues since last fall, according to a 50-state survey by CQ Roll Call.

New Exchange Rule Biggest Pre-2016 Health Care Move

A sweeping new administration rule outlining how the health law’s insurance marketplaces will operate next year sweetens financial protections for insurers and clarifies the role of counselors known as “navigators” who help people enroll in medical plans.

IRS Enforcement of 'Individual Mandate' May Be Light

One of the most debated parts of the health care law is the requirement that most Americans buy insurance starting this year. If they don’t, they face a fine of $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is more.

Many Categories Exempt From Individual Mandate

The Obama administration and Congress exempted many Americans from the health insurance law’s individual mandate. Those people who are either not required to have coverage or are automatically considered to have met the requirement include:

9 Questions About HealthCare.gov Answered

HealthCare.gov is working much better than it was at the start of October. But the woebegone federal website that must haul a system of affordable health coverage into place if the health care law is going to succeed has a long way to go and a short time to get there.

Down 60 percent of the time after the site’s Oct. 1 launch, Obama administration officials say HealthCare.gov is up more than 90 percent of the time now.

Translating the Health Tech Lingo

The technical problems with HealthCare.gov revealed a universe of jargon most people had not heard before. Below is a guide to terms used by health technology and policy experts.

834 forms: The reports that are sent every evening to insurance companies to provide them with information about consumers who have enrolled in their plans.

4 Quirks in Obamacare Coverage You Need to Know

The health care law has been a national flashpoint for the past four years, especially in recent days when the government shut down in part because of opposition to the law. But even with all that attention, polls show that most Americans don’t understand what’s in it.

Now that the marketplaces created by the law are open and people can enroll for benefits that start Jan. 1, they are discovering what type of coverage they can get. But there are also many quirks about eligibility that may surprise consumers.

The 2010 Health Care Law by the Numbers

First open enrollment period: Oct. 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014

Subsidies: Available for people with income between 100 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level. The 2013 poverty level for an individual is $11,490 and $19,530 for a family of three.

Abortion Energizes Parties, Even Without Passage

Congress is unlikely to pass any legislation making changes to abortion this year, but that hasn’t stopped both sides from taking legislative steps aimed at energizing their core constituencies.

The House Appropriations Committee included a ban on abortion coverage in the new health insurance marketplaces in the fiscal 2014 financial services spending bill approved on July 17.

The Question of Abortion Coverage in Health Exchanges

The sounds of protests over abortion issues at state Capitols across the country are fading as legislatures conclude divisive debates over new restrictions. But advocates on both sides of the issue are quietly watching to see how another volatile fight will soon play — this one over how insurers will choose to cover abortion in new marketplaces under the health care law.

The marketplaces, which are also known as exchanges, will start enrolling people on Oct. 1 and begin providing health insurance coverage to consumers on Jan. 1. The federal health care law to some extent puts the choice about abortion coverage in the hands of insurers — most of whom have made their decisions but not announced them.

Signing Up Uninsured for Health Care a Big Challenge

When a California county wanted to encourage residents to buy health insurance earlier this year, officials employed a time-tested tactic for generating interest: nudity.

The Alameda County Social Services Agency’s ad campaign featured bare-skinned people who held up signs in strategic spots that read, “Cover your family.”