Obamacare

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The enrollment period for the federal health insurance marketplace closed Monday night, with higher enrollment than last year in both Kansas and Missouri. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, the number of Americans without health insurance ranged from about 15 to 18 percent. Now, it’s below 10 percent for the first time ever.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Carla Eckels sat down with Sheldon Weisgrau, director of the Health Reform Resource Project, to talk about the Affordable Care Act in Kansas.

Stephen Koranda

Committees in the Kansas House and Senate have introduced a Medicaid expansion bill modeled after one approved by Indiana’s conservative Republican governor and legislature.

The Kansas proposal is designed to appeal to the Republicans who control the legislature. It would require the approximately 150,000 people expected to gain coverage to help pay for it. And it would cancel coverage for those who fall behind in their payments.

The government has extended until Thursday the deadline to sign up for health coverage starting Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act.

Government officials said a surge of people selecting plans over the two days before the original Tuesday deadline led to the extension. One million people left contact information after encountering delays logging onto the healthcare.gov website or reaching call centers, the officials said.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

The federal health insurance marketplace opened Nov. 1 for 2016 coverage. An effort called Cover Kansas has been branching out all across the state to help Kansans find a plan that best suits their needs. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson paid a visit to one of their outreach events in Dodge City.

Healthcare.gov

Navigators are preparing for an event in Wichita next week to help consumers decide on a health insurance plan. Coventry insurance will no longer be offered, so consumers will need to pick another option in the federal marketplace.

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.

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.

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