Affordable Care Act

Health exchange directors from New York and other states came together this week to review successes, analyze practices, and provide the latest enrollment numbers, as the second open enrollment period comes to a close.

In the fourth and final teleconference in this 2014-15 cycle, hosted by pro-Obamacare group FamiliesUSA, the directors looked back at the second health coverage enrollment period, which began on November 15th. They discussed some of the lessons learned this year, and outlined plans to help spur future enrollment.

  America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Back-Room Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System is Steven Brill’s much-anticipated, sweeping narrative of how the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was written, how it is being implemented, and, most important, how it is changing—and failing to change—the rampant abuses in the healthcare industry.

Brill probed the depths of our nation’s healthcare crisis in his trailblazing Time magazine Special Report, which won the 2014 National Magazine Award for Public Interest.

New York State of Health

With just one month remaining to sign up for online marketplace health insurance this year, outreach efforts are on the fast-track. Consumers who do not sign up by the end of business today will not have health coverage that starts on February 1.

Federal officials expect approximately 10 million people to enroll for health insurance on state and federal marketplaces this year, falling far short of 13 million the Congressional Budget Office had anticipated.

Due to what it’s calling heavy interest, Massachusetts is extending its payment deadline for people who want a state-based health insurance plan to December 28th.  But, people must still choose a plan by the end of today.

Access to health care in rural areas is a persistent struggle, and some residents of western Massachusetts found themselves considering less than ideal options this year. North Adams Regional Hospital closed in March to much community outcry; it has since been reopened as a satellite emergency center by Berkshire Health Systems. But the region, which lost some 500 jobs, isn’t alone in its experience.

Massachusetts is encouraging people who need to reenroll in Affordable Care Act insurance plans to do so by December 23rd while the state steps up call center staffing. Health Connector officials believe the website will hold up following last year’s failure.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Connecticut’s online healthcare marketplace continues to tout its success in rolling out the Affordable Care Act. It’s using technological savvy to reach its current goal of enrolling 70,000 people in ACA recognized private or government funded plans.

Massachusetts health leaders are continuing to alert people to the current health insurance open enrollment period. The state’s online marketplace, known as the Connector, is meeting with area leaders in Greenfield Monday.

NYS of Health

A second year of "Countdown to Coverage" kicked off in Albany today.  Government and community leaders shared the podium to let area residents and small business owners know they need to enroll in health coverage by February 15th through the New York State of Health Marketplace — and how to get free help to do so.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A consultant on health care to the Shumlin administration will finish out his work under a $450,000 contract with the state without getting any more money than the $160,000 he's already been paid.