health insurance marketplace

Health
4:18 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Missouri healthcare enrollment success still leaves room for improvement

Credit Rosemary / Flickr

The US Department of Health and Human Services released data Thursday showing that 152,335 Missourians are enrolled in health insurance marketplace plans. The number of enrollees more than doubled in March alone, the total exceeding the federal goal by 29 percent.

Data also showed, however, that 300,000 people in the state are unable to get insurance due to ineligibility for Medicaid or financial help in the marketplace.

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Health & Wealth Feature
8:00 am
Thu March 27, 2014

As enrollment deadline draws near, Missourians share their health insurance stories

Top: Rex Sharp, Kathryn Richter, Theresa, Angel, and Jospeh Pham with their mother, Julia and Dan McDaniel; Middle: Ann Hampton, Tom Perry and his wife, a sign outside the enrollment event at the Springfield Library Center, Mark James; Bottom: Pamela and Edmund Brown, table at the Life Betterment Fair in Springfield, Gene W. Griffith, Layla Earl
Credit Katie Hiler / KBIA

  

We’ve been hearing a lot about the Affordable Care Act from a number of politicians - Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Roy Blunt, and, of course, President Obama, to name a few.  These people can talk about the number of people insured and weigh the cost versus economic impact. But behind those numbers they’re citing are people, Missourians. Those dollar figures they throw around, that’s money in and out of our pockets. So how do Missourians who have been trying to utilize the new healthcare law feel about it? 

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Health & Wealth Update
12:44 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Health insurance navigators help Missourians in final days of enrollment period

Layla Earl is a licensed navigator and Managed Care Contract Coordinator for Phelps Regional Medical Center
Credit Marissanne Lewis-Thompson / KBIA

With the March 31 enrollment deadline for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act drawing near, healthcare centers across the state have been ramping up efforts to get Missourians signed-up. The group Cover Missouri organized a number of enrollment events across the state earlier this month.

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Health
12:59 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Health advocates push for insurance enrollment

Credit Tax Credits / Flickr

Health care advocates are making an extra push to get people signed up for insurance through a federal website before a March 31 deadline.

The Cover Missouri Coalition says about 40 enrollment events are planned Saturday around the state, including some featuring live music, free food and advice from tax preparers. Dozens of additional events are planned in the coming days.

The coalition also will be running new online and radio advertisements between now and the end of the month.

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Politics
5:08 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Federal judge grants injunction against Mo. state navigator law

Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction against Missouri's law requiring of a state license to serve as a navigator to help consumers sign up for coverage through the new health insurance marketplace.

An attorney for the St. Louis-based plaintiffs calls the ruling by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith a "huge victory." Messages seeking comment from state officials were not immediately returned.

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Health & Wealth
9:22 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Success with HealthCare.gov takes patience, persistence

Aaron Swaney helps Jeannie Wyble with her application for insurance through the online health marketplace at Family Health Center on Dec. 5, 2013. Wyble's application was stuck in "in progress" limbo for weeks.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

    

On an afternoon in early December, 60-year-old Columbia resident Jeannie Wyble sits in a small cubicle at Columbia’s Family Health Center, telling Aaron Swaney, a HealthCare.gov application counselor, about the heart attack she suffered in 2002.

“I quit smoking when I had my heart attack,” Wyble said. “Smoked my last cigarette on the way to the ER, never smoked another one.”

At the time, Wyble was still insured through her husband’s union plan. But after the heart attack, the insurance company began increasing her monthly premium. Wyble says at one point, she had to pay almost $500 a month.

“And then when we found out they were going to jump even more again the following January,” Wyble said. “It was very clear to us that we couldn’t pay my premiums anymore and that mine would just have to be dropped. In effect, [the insurance company] decided to get rid of me, and it worked. They did. They got rid of me.”

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Health & Wealth Update
7:31 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Lukewarm response to HealthCare.gov enrollment outreach in rural Missouri

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

 

Listen to KBIA's Harum Helmy talk to Kate King, a navigator who's been helping with efforts of spreading awareness about HealthCare.Gov.

As an Affordable Care Act navigator, Kate King has been traveling to counties throughout central Missouri spreading awareness of and getting Missourians enrolled in HealthCare.gov.  

King works with the Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging, which serves a 19-county area, 17 of them rural. The agency is part of a nonprofit alliance that received $750,000 in federal grants in August to help with Healthcare.gov outreach. 

 

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Health & Wealth Blog
3:35 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

What's your Obamacare story?

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

As the Affordable Care Act's provisions continue to roll out, the law will continue to affect our lives.

In Missouri, where the legislature still hasn't expanded Medicaid, 193,000 adults will fall in what’s called the “coverage gap.” These adults aren’t eligible for Missouri’s current Medicaid program (which doesn’t cover any able-bodied adult without children, no matter how low his or her income), and they make too little money to qualify for any subsidies that can help them pay for insurance premiums through the online health marketplace.

Despite the gap, a national report says 40 percent of the 800,000 in Missouri who are uninsured could be eligible for free insurance premiums through HealthCare.gov. That is, of course, if the website would just function properly.

Meanwhile, some people are also getting kicked out of their existing insurance plans -- some of which have been canceled for not meeting the basic coverage to be a Qualified Health Plan under the Affordable Care Act.

KBIA needs your help in personalizing the stories mentioned above. Would you share with us your experience with the Affordable Care Act? Fill out the form below. We won’t publish your name or story without your permission.

Hat tip to ProPublica, who published the original version of this form. 

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
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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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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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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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
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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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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