Affordable Care Act

Two Kansas organizations are hiring staff to increase the number of consumers they can help in the search for health insurance that meets their needs. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has details.

The federal health insurance marketplace opens for 2016 coverage Nov. 1.

The Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved and Ascension Health have both received federal grants to help consumers sort through the many options they’ll find. Together, their insurance navigators helped almost 20,000 Kansans find coverage for this year.

The rate of Kansas residents who are uninsured has dropped to 10.2 percent amid a national movement to increase health coverage.

The U.S. Census Bureau determined that about 12.3 percent of people in Kansas didn't have health insurance in 2013. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the new information indicates that about 57,000 fewer people were uninsured in 2014 compared to 2013.

Wikipedia

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says Republican presidential candidates promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act are misleading voters. Sebelius made the comment in a speech yesterday at a luncheon marking the 10th anniversary of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

dhhs.gov

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 healthcare.gov marketplace during the next open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31, 2016.

healthcare.gov

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.

Congress.gov

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.

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