The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been called many things – smooth is not one of them. Once attention shifted from the government shutdown to the October 1st launch of the website healthcare.gov, pundits, reporters, and politicians on both sides of the aisle have condemned glitches and delays as irresponsible and ultimately, unnecessary. We decided to play a little thought experiment…what if, instead of the government, one of America’s tech giants had been in charge of the site for applying for and purchasing health insurance? What if instead of healthcare.gov, we had “i-healthcare?” “Or Google Health?” What if Mark Zuckerberg were asked to spearhead the “Facebook Health Exchange?”
Joining me to speculate on how the rollout might have gone differently is Rob Fleischman, Chief Technology Officer at Xero-Cole, and our regular oracle of all things digital. Also joining us is David Ewalt, senior editor at Forbes who writes about technology, games, space and other geeky stuff.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen continues to press the Obama administration to extend the enrollment period for those looking to buy coverage through the new health law. In an op-ed in USA Today, Shaheen says consumers shouldn’t be penalized by a failed website roll-0ut.
A flawed bid process is further delaying efforts to market the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire, as the group in charge of awarding a $2 million contract has decided to reopen its application process.
The New Hampshire Health Plan committee voted 3-2 to award the contract to an unnamed vendor on October 9, but the group, for reasons left unstated in meeting minutes, then decided not to finalize that recommendation.
New Hampshire Health Plan Executive Director Michael Degnan wouldn’t go into detail, but says the committee was divided.
When Michael Justice was laid off from a local college last year, he lost a job he liked, a paycheck he needed and an insurance plan he relied on.
At 63, he’s now buying a policy to cover him and his wife. The bill every month is $1,638.
“It’s more than we pay for mortgage, its more than we pay on property taxes, which in New Hampshire is saying a bit,” says Justice. “It’s more than we pay for heating oil, more than we pay for electricity, more than we pay for water.”
We've heard a lot about the new health insurance exchanges (A.K.A. marketplaces) since they launched this month. What follows is a blog of my attempts to navigate New Hampshire's marketplace. So far, it's been an error-ridden process with recurring visits to a virtual waiting room.
Day 1: October 1st
Creating an account.
Using Google Chrome browser, I go to Healthcare.gov. I click log in at the top right corner of the first screen.
New Hampshire is one of just a handful of states that hasn’t yet answered the Medicaid expansion question. Remember, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the federal health law last summer, it said Washington could not force states to expand their Medicaid programs that provides health care to the poor. States, instead, must be given a choice.
And so, for the better part of three months now, a special commission has been studying whether to add 50,000 more low income individuals to the program.
With enrollment for healthcare plans under “Obamacare” set to begin tomorrow, NHPR’s health reporter, Todd Bookman, has kept a steady eye on the rollout of the affordable care act. He put together an easy-to-follow guide to what the new healthcare law means for New Hampshire residents, and joins us in the studio to run through some of those points.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provides a snapshot of premium prices for health plans sold in the new marketplaces. When they launch October 1, individuals will be able to comparison shop for plans in their state's marketplace and apply for subsidies meant to make insurance more affordable.
New Hampshire is getting a $3 million federal grant to fight unreasonable increases in health insurance rates and to make pricing more transparent.
The grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is part of the federal Affordable Care Act. The goal is to support state efforts to review health insurance rate increases, educate consumers and hold insurance companies accountable.
At an event organized by the New Hampshire Women’s Health Network and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Senator Shaheen praised the law as the single biggest advancement in women’s health in her lifetime.