Affordable Care Act

A new report shows a small decline in the number of Kansans with health insurance coverage through the federal online marketplace during the spring and early summer.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Tuesday that nearly 85,000 Kansas residents were enrolled in health plans through the federal marketplace at the end of June.

Premiums for Kansas health insurance plans offered in the federal marketplace won’t increase as much as originally proposed, state Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said Tuesday.

In May, Kansas insurance companies requested rate increases of up to 39 percent for individual market policies to be sold through the marketplace during the next open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31, 2016.

This year's open enrollment for health insurance through the federal marketplace ended February 15th, and the 2016 sign-up period doesn't open until November first. But as Heartland Health Monitor's Bryan Thompson explains, thousands of Kansans have been able to sign up in the last six months anyway.

That's because of what the government refers to as special enrollment periods. They're based on the notion that life can change, so enrollment needs to be flexible.

Dave Ranney file photo / KHI News

The president of the Kansas Hospital Association is taking issue with recent comments made by Gov. Sam Brownback about Medicaid expansion.

The governor said rather than lobbying for expansion, hospitals should address their financial problems by innovating and getting more efficient. He said reductions in Medicare payments triggered by the Affordable Care Act are the biggest problem for Kansas hospitals.

But hospital association president Tom Bell says the governor is wrong about that.

daveynin, flickr Creative Commons

The rate of uninsured Kansas now stands at 11.3 percent, compared with 12.5 percent in 2013, according to a Gallup survey published Monday.

Nationwide, the uninsured rate plunged from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 11.7 percent through the first half of this year. Seven of the 10 states with the biggest reductions in uninsured rates implemented Medicaid expansion and established a marketplace while two did one or the other, according to Gallup.

Kansas 4th District Congressman Mike Pompeo has agreed to co-sponsor a joint resolution that would allow states to form a health care compact and, potentially, circumvent parts of the Affordable Care Act.

“Mike has agreed to be a part of the health care compact because he views it as one of the last remaining opportunities to protect Kansans from the disaster that is the Affordable Care Act,” Heather Denker, a spokesperson for Pompeo’s office, said in an email.

Kaiser Family Foundation

The U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the latest legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act preserves federal tax subsidies that nearly 70,000 Kansans used this year to help them purchase health insurance.

If the decision released Thursday had gone the other way, those Kansans, many of whom were previously uninsured, might have been forced to drop their coverage.

A state representative from Wichita is leading an effort to urge Congress to reconsider the future of the federal health law.

Kansas Rep. Dan Hawkins of Wichita joined his colleague Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook of Shawnee in drafting a letter to Republican leaders in Congress.

The state lawmakers, who are the leaders of the Legislature's health committees, want Congress to re-examine the 2010 federal health care law after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a key provision over federal subsidies.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Within the next couple weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue a decision regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

The notion of government-supported health insurance for Americans has long generated 


Federal officials estimate that more than 1.3 million Kansans now have private health insurance that includes preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has more.

To meet the standards set by the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans must offer a range of preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient--things like an annual wellness check-up, cancer screenings, and recommended immunizations.

The idea is to encourage people to catch serious health conditions like cancer or diabetes as early as possible.