Affordable Care Act

Rates of Uninsured Falling Everywhere... Except Kansas

Feb 25, 2015

After the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, uninsured rates are falling in every state…except in Kansas. Heartland Health Monitor's Dan Margolies reports on the new Gallup survey released on Tuesday.

Although not statistically significant, the Sunflower State’s 1.9 point increase makes it the only state in the country to witness an uptick in its uninsured rate.

In 2013, 12.5 percent of the state’s residents lacked health insurance, according to Gallup. In 2014, that percentage had risen to 14.4 percent.

healthcare.gov

Obamacare enrollment continues to climb in Kansas. Jim McLean (of the KHI News Service) has the latest numbers.

Link to related digital story from the KHI News Service: http://www.khi.org/news/article/kansas-and-missouri-record-big-jumps-in-healthcare.gov-enrollment

Aileen LeBlanc

**UPDATE**  

The latest data published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates 96,226 Kansans have signed up for health care coverage through HealthCare.gov

This story originally aired during Morning Edition on Thursday, February 12, 2015

Federal health officials say just over 39,000 Kansans signed up for health care coverage through the federally run exchange in the first month of open enrollment.

Those who signed up at healthcare.gov as of December 15 will have coverage Thursday. People who sign up by Jan. 15 will be covered beginning Feb. 1.

About 57,000 people enrolled in the exchange in Kansas last year. State officials hope more sign up this year.

People can sign up for individual or family coverage until February 15 at www.healthcare.gov.

State insurance commissioner-elect Ken Selzer says creating a more robust market is a top goal of his time in office.

Selzer says greater competition will address problems with the federal health care overhaul.

He is confident that he can attract companies into the state and encourage others already in Kansas to do more business.

Ken Selzer is a Republican and takes office January 12th.

He'll replacing retiring Commissioner Sandy Praeger.

healthcare.gov

Premiums in the federal health insurance Marketplace are slightly higher, on average, than last year-but not in Kansas. More from Bryan Thompson.

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services says the cost of the so-called “benchmark” silver plan is up an average of two percent nationwide. But In Kansas, the benchmark plan is actually five per cent lower this year.

Kansas Insurance Department spokesman Bob Hanson says that’s because Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas has added a new HMO marketplace plan with premiums lower than last year’s benchmark silver.

More than 2,000 employees will become eligible for full-time health benefits starting Jan. 1st.

Director Mike Michael of the Kansas State Employee Health Plan says the expansion is the result of the federal Affordable Care Act, which requires large employers to provide the benefits to employees who work at least 30 hours a week.

The state health plan previously required people to work at least 36 hours a week to be eligible for full-time benefits.

healthcare.gov

The federal health insurance marketplace opened for its second year of business Saturday. Bryan Thompson has the highlights.

Predictions of double-digit rate increases this year haven’t come true. A review by the non-profit Kansas Health Institute finds that, on average, premiums for plans sold in Kansas are up just one-tenth of one percent. But the average isn’t what matters to consumers.

Every plan is different. Some do have double-digit increases, but some have double-digit price drops.

The top Medicare expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation says the health care program for older Americans is stronger today than it was four years ago-and the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is the reason why. Bryan Thompson spoke with Tricia Neuman while she was in Salina for an annual senior fair.

Two groups have received new federal grants to help Kansans sign up for health insurance in the Affordable Care Act online health insurance Marketplace.

Jim McLean reports the next open enrollment period starts in November.

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