affordable care act

Science, Health and Technology
11:58 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Check out the 'How much is Obamacare going to cost me?' calculator

Credit 401(K) 2013

Starting Oct. 1, anyone looking to purchase health insurance plans can enroll in the new online marketplace. A key component of the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace has been touted as a totally new way to buy insurance. You, the consumer, can go to the marketplace website and do a side-by-side comparison of the benefits, premiums and coverage of different insurance plans.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:06 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Top U.S. Health Official Says Insurance Marketplace Will Help Many ― But Not All

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius speaks to reporters at St. Louis City Hall, while St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis City Health Director Pam Walker, and St. Louis County Health Director Delores Gunn look on (left to right).

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:35 am

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in St. Louis on Thursday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius met with city and county officials and representatives of the local healthcare community in a closed-door session at St. Louis City Hall.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Sebelius said as of October 1, Missourians will be able to purchase health insurance through a new online marketplace.

Sebelius said many of Missouri's 800,000 uninsured will be able to get coverage.

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Under the Microscope
4:41 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Selling the Affordable Care Act to rural areas

Bob Bernt and his wife, Kristine, have gone without health insurance for the last 20 years, and don’t plan on buying coverage to meet the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

On this week's episode, we'll hear why some rural residents are reluctant to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

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Science, Health and Technology
12:14 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Campaign to raise awareness of new insurance marketplace kicks off

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

In about one month, a key part of the Affordable Care Act kicks off nationwide. The health insurance marketplace opens for enrollment -- and consumers can shop for an insurance plan from what could be hundreds of options. And this week, a Missouri-wide campaign to raise awareness about the marketplace begins, it's led by the Missouri Foundation for Health. States had the option to run their own marketplaces or let the federal government do it for them. Missouri, along with 26 other states, chose the latter. 

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Science, Health and Technology
1:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Two Mo. organizations will hire Affordable Care Act navigators

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

Primaris Healthcare Business Solutions and the Missouri Alliance of Area Agencies on Aging have been granted federal money to hire people who will help Missouri consumers navigate the new insurance marketplace, set to open for enrollment on Oct. 1.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services quietly announced the grantees Thursday.

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Politics
11:40 am
Mon July 29, 2013

In Columbia, Missourians call House panel to expand Medicaid

In May 30, 2013, pro-Medicaid expansion protesters gather outside the Columbia stop of House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka)'s post-legislative session tour.
Credit Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

 

Echoing testimonies from earlier hearings in Independence and Springfield, witness after witness spoke in support of Medicaid expansion at a House interim committee hearing in Columbia on Saturday.

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Science, Health and Technology
3:23 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Health care advocates welcome state regulations for ACA marketplace navigators

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

The Department of Insurance has issued an emergency rule for licensing people who will help Missouri residents explore their insurance options in the new health marketplace. The federal government is regulating these helpers, also called navigators. A bill signed by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this month added state regulations for the navigators.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:21 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Mo. Dept of Insurance makes rules for online health care marketplace "navigators"

Credit jfcherry / Flickr

The Missouri Department of Insurance has filed an emergency rule for the licensing of people that will help state residents search for health plans on an online marketplace. Legislation signed this year by Gov. Jay Nixon creates state requirements for the helpers, who are called navigators.

People applying for a state license will need to pass an examination. The cost for applying will be $25 for individuals and $50 for an entity. Licenses will be valid for two years. Requirements for a navigator license will include being age 18 or older, living in Missouri or keeping a business in the state. Those wanting to be navigators also should not have committed any acts that would grounds to refuse an insurance producer license.

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Under the Microscope
11:59 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Insurance industry 'whistleblower' talks health care reform

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

Listen to KBIA's Harum Helmy chat with insurance industry 'whistleblower' Wendell Potter on Under the Microscope.

For about two decades, Wendell Potter spun carefully crafted public relations messages for Humana and Cigna, the insurance companies where he worked. He recalls convincing consumers that high-deductible insurance plans would be good for everyone; telling them that by paying more, they’d have more skin in the game of their own health.

“I frankly just got so disillusioned and, ultimately, disgusted with what I was doing,” Potter said.

He said through his own research, he knew high-deductible plans were not the best insurance coverage for those with middle-class income.

“The median household income in this country is just barely $50,000,” Potter said. “A family that’s earning $50,000, if they’re in a plan with a high deductible, they face bankruptcy or foreclosure [if something happens]. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have lost their homes and have to declare bankruptcy because they have been in these kinds of plans. They think they have adequate coverage and they don’t.”

In 2008, Potter left the insurance industry and became a consumer advocate. He testified in Congress against high-deductible plans. In 2010, he published a book detailing the ways public-relations practices of the insurance industry affect American health care. 

Now, Potter writes columns and travels around the country to debunk what he calls are “myths” about the Affordable Care Act. The law imposes stricter rules on insurance companies. They can no longer refuse coverage for consumers who have a pre-existing condition, for example. Companies also have to spend at least 80 percent of every dollar of a consumer's premium for patient care and quality improvements, not profits or administrative costs. 

On a recent visit to Columbia, Potter sat down with KBIA's Harum Helmy to chat about health care reform and the insurance industry's response to it. 

Listen to a longer version of the interview.

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Politics
8:22 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Blunt joins congressional chorus calling for delay of federal health care act

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Missouri’s Roy Blunt was among the Republican Senators signing a letter Wednesday asking President Barack Obama to permanently delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

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Health & Wealth Update
1:26 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Bill on Nixon's desk could add barrier in enrolling Missourians in ACA marketplace

Credit pinprick / FLICKR

 Update: Gov. Jay Nixon signed SB 262 into law on Friday, July 12. 

A bill that was pushed by the state's insurance agents association could create a barrier in getting Missourians enrolled in time for the new online health insurance marketplace  one of the key parts of the health care reform law.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:03 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Missouri faces shortage of primary care doctors

Credit File photo / KBIA

Missouri is facing a shortage of primary care doctors, and the strain could grow as more people soon gain health insurance under the federal health care law.

The state had just under 74 active patient care primary care doctors per 100,000 residents, according to 2010 figures from the Association of American Medical Colleges. That ranked Missouri 35th in the nation and put it behind the national per capita average of more than 79 active primary care doctors per 100,000 residents.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:24 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Former insurance executive speaks out for Medicaid expansion

Credit Teddy Nykiel / KBIA

A former health insurance company executive says he left the comforts of a padded career of corporate jets and high rise offices to speak out against unfair insurance practices.

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Health & Wealth Update
12:37 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Boone Hospital and MU Health Care to lay off employees, cut others' hours

Credit KBIA file photo

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

Thirty-five MU Health Care employees will see their hours reduced in the coming year. At Boone Hospital Center, seven employees’ hours will be cut, while 13 full- and part-time employees will lose their jobs.

In Boone Hospital’s case, the layoffs came in a system-wide package. The hospital’s parent company, St. Louis-based BJC Healthcare, recently announced it is cutting 160 jobs from its hospitals. This is the first time BJC has ever made system-wide layoffs. June Fowler, vice president for corporate and public communications at the company, said several factors led to the layoffs.

“BJC is experiencing reductions in our reimbursement for the healthcare services that we provide,” Fowler said.  “We’ve also seen a decrease in inpatient hospitalizations.”

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Politics
10:38 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Medicaid reform conversation continues in Missouri

Pro-Medicaid expansion protesters meet House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) at the Columbia stop of his post-legislative session tour.
Credit Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

 

Although the Missouri legislative session has ended, the discussion on what to do with the state’s Medicaid program continues.

The Affordable Care Act asks states to expand their Medicaid eligibility to cover those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s about $30,000 for a family of four. Missouri’s Republican-majority legislature has refused to expand Medicaid, calling it a broken system. Now, both the state House and Senate have established interim committees to study ways to reform Medicaid.

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Politics
5:10 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Mo. legislature institutes interim committee on Medicaid reform

Credit Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

  Missouri state lawmakers launched an interim committee Thursday to examine the issue of Medicaid reform. Governor Jay Nixon pushed heavily for the legislature to expand Medicaid this session, and accept hundreds of millions of federal dollars to do so. But Republican legislators were worried about the long-term costs of the move, and no measure was passed. Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican member who started the committee, says accepting the federal money wouldn’t fix the problems that are inherent to the Medicaid system.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:17 am
Wed May 22, 2013

As Missouri's Medicaid awaits reform, health centers continue to serve uninsured

This week on KBIA’s talk show Intersection, host Ryan Famuliner sat down with State Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) to discuss the legislative session that ended on Friday. One of the main things on the show’s agenda was, of course, Medicaid expansion – or lack thereof.

Famuliner asked the panelists why the expansion failed to pass. 

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Science, Health and Technology
5:30 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Health care reform put on hold as lawmakers wrap up session

Anita Sutherland, seated, is one of hundreds of thousands of Missourians who would receive government health care if Missouri lawmakers opted into the federal Medicaid expansion plan.
Credit Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

Rain is drizzling on the roughly 40 people standing in line outside the Good Samaritan Care Clinic in rural Mountain View, Missouri. Some have been standing for hours. At 5:30 pm, the clinic doors swing open, and the patients flood into a clean, bare bones waiting room.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:53 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Interfaith leaders gather for last-minute support of Medicaid expansion [video]

Fr. Thomas Saucier welcomes attendees to an interfaith prayer service for Medicaid expansion on Monday, May 13. About 30 people attended the service, held at the St Thomas More Newman Center at MU.
Credit Kellie Kotraba / KBIA News

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

  

With the Missouri legislative session ending on Friday and a Republican supermajority that still won't budge, the hope to expand Medicaid in Missouri is pretty much dead for FY 2014.

It's so dead that perhaps the only thing that could bring it back to life is, well, interfaith prayers for a miracle.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:03 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Missouri health centers eligible for $3 million in insurance outreach fund

Credit Tax Credits / Flickr

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced another round of funding to help Americans enroll in the Affordable Care Act's new online health insurance marketplace.

About $150 million is now available for community health centers nationwide to hire and train employees who would provide in-person help for the public about their insurance options in the marketplace, which is set to open for enrollment on Oct. 1. 

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Health & Wealth Update
4:05 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Helping Missourians navigate the ACA marketplace will likely be a collaborative effort

Credit jfcherry / Flickr

Listen here for an interview with Stan Hudson, a health literacy expert and associate director of the Center for Health Policy at MU about the Marketplace Navigators program.

Many Missourians will likely need help navigating the Affordable Care Act's new health insurance marketplace that's set to go online by Oct. 1, but one analyst says there might not be enough time or federal funding to train those who can help.

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Politics
6:07 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Uncertainty looms over part-time faculty as Affordable Care Act approaches

Academic institutions such as Moberly Area Community College could be affected most by the Affordable Care Act, as many of them rely greatly on part-time faculty members.
Credit KOMU News / Flickr

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide health insurance to everyone working more than 30 hours a week starting in 2014. This new regulation presents an issue in the academic world, as many adjunct faculty members across the country are having their working hours cut.

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Health & Wealth Blog
5:21 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Rural Reads: Redneck reality, Obama's budget and critical access hospitals

Credit Leader Nancy Pelosi / Flickr

Every Friday, KBIA's Health & Wealth Desk talks about the week's most interesting articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues. 

'Redneck reality' and rural portrayal in cable television

Entertainment newspaper The A.V. Club muses on A&E's popular reality show Duck Dynasty, saying the show is the 21st century incarnation of old rural-themed sitcoms that once dominated network television. Think Petticoat JunctionThe Beverly Hillbillies, and Hee-Haw. It's an interesting read, but we were especially interested with the author's take on ways the television shows have to negotiate the rural-urban political disparities. 

While the rural-themed programming of days gone by tended to depict the small Southern town as a bucolic haven for good-hearted folk, redneck reality is more apt to acknowledge the social and economic ills of the subcultures it depicts. These shows are sanitized for the protection of viewers with blue-state sensibilities; when they occur at all, political discussions tend to center on generalized platitudes about freedom and family, rather than specifics that might turn off half the potential audience.

 

H/T: The Rural Blog

Did headlines about death rates at rural hospitals tell the wrong story?
The Daily Yonder is killing it with their opinion pieces this week. 

Case in point: A new report made headlines last week, saying death rates are rising at rural, geographically isolated hospitals. But an opinion writer for the Yonder says news reports are not telling the real story of these so-called critical access hospitals:

The patients in the small rural hospital with heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia have become a select population. A large proportion has decided that they are through paying all the human costs of the miracles of modern medicine. They have made the decision to stay in familiar surroundings near home and family. 

The researchers found that 13.3% of the patients at critical access hospitals with one of the three conditions died, compared to 11.4 % of the medical center patients. Given all the terrible tools that modern medical centers have to work with, I’m amazed they only manage a small difference in patient survival over the most basic, little country hospitals in America. 

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Science, Health and Technology
8:58 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Obama's proposed delay in cuts could cool off MO medicaid expansion debate

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In his proposed budget, President Barack Obama wants to delay cuts to federal payments to hospitals, keeping the payments intact for an extra year. That could affect the debate over expanding Medicaid in Missouri.

Through what’s called the disproportionate share hospital payments or DSH payments, the federal government gives money to hospitals that provide a lot of free care to patients who are uninsured and can’t afford services. The Affordable Care Act, though, includes significant cuts to DSH payments.

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Health & Wealth
11:37 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Why rural Missouri hospitals are rooting for Medicaid expansion

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Listen to this week's Health and Wealth Update featuring KSMU's Jennifer Davidson.

The uphill congressional battle to expand Medicaid in Missouri is making rural hospitals that serve areas with high poverty levels really, really nervous. KSMU's Jennifer Davidson has the story.

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Politics
5:39 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Nixon open to GOP-backed Medicaid plan, but with changes

Credit File photo / KBIA

Governor Jay Nixon says he could support the House Republicans’ alternate Medicaid proposal, but only if some crucial changes are made.  He met with the GOP caucus today to discuss his Medicaid expansion proposal and their plans to reform the system.  Nixon told reporters that any proposal still needs to expand Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

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Health & Wealth Update
1:46 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Will Missouri's GOP-backed Medicaid expansion get federal approval?

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

Missouri’s Republican-led House on Tuesday struck down Democrats’ attempts to include Medicaid expansion in the state’s budget.

If that scenario sounds familiar to you, it’s because these rejections have happened a few times before. On Feb. 25, two House committees rejected Rep. Jake Hummel’s (D-St. Louis) bill to expand Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. On March 14, the Senate Appropriations committee voted down the Senate Democrats’ version of the expansion bill.

Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) was in one of the committees that struck down Rep. Hummel's Medicaid expansion proposal. Barnes has since introduced his own version of the expansion -- outlined in House Bill 700

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Health & Wealth Update
4:47 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

The few things we know about Missouri's health insurance marketplace

Credit Libby Burns / KBIA

Listen to a conversation with Health Literacy Missouri's Catina O'Leary about some challenges Missourians might face in the health insurance marketplace, set to be open for enrollment by October.

This is the second in a two-part discussion about health literacy and the healthcare reform.  

Not knowing what the online health insurance marketplace looks like might be problematic for Missourians. 

As part of the Affordable Care Act, Missouri’s uninsured can choose to buy insurance from the state’s health exchange come October. The exchange is an online marketplace where anyone who isn’t already insured will be able to compare and purchase private insurance plans. Some uninsured Missourians would be eligible for help with the cost, too.  

Missouri has missed the deadline to create its own marketplace or start a state-federal partnership. So, the federal government is setting it up. The problem is, even though the marketplace is supposed to be open for enrollment in about six months, no one knows what it looks like yet.

“We’re losing time that could be useful in helping people understand and prepare [for the exchange],” said Catina O’Leary, the director of Health Literacy Missouri, a nonprofit group that’s working to make health care topics more understandable for Missourians. “It would be really great if we could manage people’s expectations and start training on what they’re going to need to know.”

But here's what we know so far: 

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Health & Wealth Update
11:31 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Why health literacy is a crucial part of healthcare reform

Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

Listen to this week's Health & Wealth Update.

On this week's Health and Wealth Update, the first part of a discussion about health literacy and the healthcare reform. 

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Science, Health and Technology
10:23 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Forum aims to inform public on Medicaid expansion

Missouri Foundation for Health's Ryan Barker presented and took questions from the Columbia community about the state's Medicaid expansion debate on Monday, March 11, 2013. The forum, held at the ARC in Columbia, is the sixth Barker has held this year.
Harum Helmy KBIA News

The St. Louis-based nonprofit, nonpartisan group Missouri Foundation for Health held a community forum in Columbia at the ARC Monday night about the state’s Medicaid expansion debate. The foundation’s director for health policy Ryan Barker presented the pros and cons of the expansion to an audience of about 45 people, before opening up the floor to questions.

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