Affordable Care Act

December 15 is the enrollment deadline for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, which became law nearly ten years ago. BPR’s Helen Chickering checked in with Jackie Kiger at Pisgah Legal Services  to find out what people need to know as they navigate this year’s marketplace.  

Good news for last minute insurance shoppers. Pisgah Legal Services, in partnership with Mission Health is hosting a free enrollment event Saturday, December 15 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  at the Mission Health/AB Tech Conference Center at 16 Fernihurst Drive.  No appointment is needed.

Getty Images

Last year, more than half a million North Carolina residents signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.  With less than two weeks left in the 2019 open enrollment period, there is concern that those numbers will be down.  BPR’s Helen Chickering checked in with Pisgah Legal Services managing attorney Jackie Kiger . 

Open Enrollment for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act is now underway.  The nonprofit Pisgah Legal Services held a press conference this week and urged consumers to get educated before enrolling.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

“Number one, the ACA is still the law, and it is working”

Thursday marks the beginning of the sixth year of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. People can buy or renew health insurance plans on the marketplace through mid-December.

Premiums for the majority Affordable Care Act plans in North Carolina will decrease for the first time in history, but the chief executive of the state's largest health insurer says they would be 15 percent lower if not for actions taken by the Trump Administration.

Helen Chickering/BPR

The Trump administration took another swipe at the Affordable Care Act recently in announcing that it's cutting funding to ACA 'navigators' 72 percent, from $36 million to $10 million.  In North Carolina, the cut is even more severe: an 85 percent cut from $3.4 million to $500,000.  That will hurt the efforts of navigators to help get people enrolled in health insurance.  Jackie Kiger is an attorney and ACA navigator with Pisgah Legal Services

Preliminary numbers show 8.8 million people bought health insurance plans through the federal exchange this year nationwide. That’s 96 percent of last year’s sign-ups, despite a lot of changes to the Affordable Care Act and a shorter window to enroll. Sign-ups in the Carolinas were also close to that of last year.  

This is the last week to sign up for health insurance through the exchange. More than 209,000 people in North Carolina have enrolled as of the first week in December, according to the federal count. 

Open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act begins today amid continued uncertainty over the fate of the health care law.  Here in Western North Carolina, the recent split between Blue Cross and Mission Health adds another layer of confusion and stress for consumers.  

There is now a disincentive for health insurance navigators to set up shop in rural areas. Navigators are those specially trained people that help consumers sign up for health insurance on the marketplace. The Trump administration has tied their funding to how many people they sign up for coverage on the marketplace. Since chances are higher of signing up more people in urban areas, navigators in South Carolina are focusing on cities at the expense of rural areas.

President Donald Trump is expressing support for an agreement struck by two leading lawmakers to extend federal payments to health insurers.

President Trump’s decision to stop paying subsidies to insurance companies means many middle class families will likely pay more for coverage. As part of the Affordable Care Act, insurers got those payments to help make health insurance affordable for customers.

Healthcare Dominates Meadows Town Hall

Aug 8, 2017
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows met face to face with supporters and detractors during a town hall debate last night near Hendersonville that was largely dominated by health care.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb was there.

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows is calling for the elimination of the department within the Congressional Budget Office that scores bills.

rooseveltinstitute.org

1.34 million North Carolinians could lose health insurance if the Senate health care bill became law, according to the liberal think-tank the Center for American Progress.  The group evaluated numbers by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that found 22 million Americans could lose health coverage under the Senate plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

meadows.house.gov

Republican Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows says the Affordable Care Act repeal bill presented by Senate GOP leaders currently lacks support in both chambers of Congress.  Meadows' remarks came during a conference call with reporters.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate unveiled its plan to replace Obamacare.

A key component of the bill deals with Medicaid, the federal program to provide health insurance to the poor and disabled.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina filed to increase Affordable Care Act premiums by 22.9 percent next year.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, best known as Obamacare.

And this version is different from a version the House failed to pass just weeks ago.

Walter Jones, who represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, was the only Republican in this state to vote against a bill that will repeal portions of Obamacare.

"Most of the reason is that we don’t have an updated Congressional Budget Office score," he told WUNC as the bill passed 217-213.

"The last day or two, leadership has talked to me about it, (asked me), 'What would it take to get your vote?' They are cutting deals with members of Congress, tweaking this and tweaking that, and you don’t know what the costs are going to be."

President Donald Trump's defeat may be U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows's victory. The North Carolina Republican is enjoying an outpouring of support from conservatives in his home district.

Meadows represents the 11th Congressional District in western North Carolina. He is also head of the Freedom Caucus, the conservative bloc in Congress that scuttled the president's plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare.

At least three Republicans in North Carolina's Congressional delegation are not satisfied with the GOP's plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act has critics even within the GOP. Experts say it may cost more and grow the number of uninsured. We take a closer look.

North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry says Republican leaders are working to revise their party's health care plan to win approval. So far, moderates and conservatives are far apart. McHenry is playing a key role in trying to bridge their differences.

The dominant insurance company in North Carolina performed far better on the Obamacare exchange last year and increased overall profits dramatically as a result.

Meadows A No-Show At Mountain Town Hall

Feb 27, 2017

Congress was in recess last week, meaning some but not all members were holding town hall meetings with constituents back home.  Members of Western North Carolina's congressional delegation were NOT holding such meetings however.  So residents of Clay and Cherokee Counties held their own.

It was standing room only at the Clay County courthouse in Hayesville, as more than a hundred locals turned out for a town hall meeting on the Affordable Care Act— known as “Obamacare” to many—and what is to become of it.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has issued a policy brief recommending a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cuts to Medicaid spending, a move that worries child advocacy organizations.

The future of the Affordable Care Act dominated the news Wednesday. While Democrats and Republicans huddled on Capitol Hill to discuss the future of the law, here in North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced his plan to expand Medicaid in the state.

The head of the Obamacare exchanges is encouraging consumers to continue signing up for health insurance even though Republicans are promising to repeal the law. The CEO of healthcare.gov acknowledges he can't guarantee there won't be changes in coverage.

Pages