Affordable Care Act Guide » Updates

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Health website to remain a work in progress

 Posted on November 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

The HealthCare.gov website will still be a work in progress beyond the end of the month, Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday, appearing to soften a promise that the site will be working by then for the vast majority of users. “The 30th of November is not a magic go, no go date. It is a work of constant improvement. We have some very specific things we know we

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Updates » Older Stories

  • Policy cancellations: Obama will allow old plans

     Posted on November 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Bowing to pressure, President Barack Obama on Thursday announced changes to his health care law to give insurance companies the option to keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled. The administrative changes are good for just one year, though senior administration officials said they could be extended if problems with the law persist. Obama announced the changes at the White House. “This fix won’t solve every problem for

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  • Key dates in Obama health care overhaul law

     Posted on October 22, 2013 at 11:53 am

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    Medicare was signed into law on July 30, 1965, and within a year seniors were receiving coverage. President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, and the uninsured start getting coverage more than three years later on Jan. 1, 2014. Some key dates in the saga of Obama’s signature legislation: March 23, 2010 — Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Democrats hail

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  • ‘Obamacare’ contractors project confidence

     Posted on October 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Cecilia Fontenot poses at the Texas Organizing Project offices in Houston on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. Fontenot is looking forward to the opening of that state’s federally run insurance market. A part-time accountant in her early 60s, Fontenot is uninsured and trying to stay healthy while coping with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Also, a breast lump was detected about a year ago. Her doctor recommended a digital mammogram, but she has not been able to afford the more involved test. Because of her pre-existing conditions, Fontenot would have a tough time finding affordable individual coverage today. But starting Jan. 1, 2014 insurers will no longer be able to turn away people with health problems or charge them more. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

    Major contractors hooking up the internal plumbing of President Barack Obama’s health care law projected confidence Tuesday that they will be ready to go by an Oct. 1 deadline, even though the system is still being tested. With just three weeks to go before new state health insurance markets launch, efforts are ongoing to reliably link up government agencies, the markets themselves and private health plans. The congressional Government Accountability

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  • Haves and have-nots as health care markets

     Posted on October 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Having health insurance used to hinge on where you worked and what your medical history said. Soon that won’t matter, with open-access markets for subsidized coverage coming Oct. 1 under President Barack Obama’s overhaul. But there’s a new wild card, something that didn’t seem so critical when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act back in 2010: where you live. Entrenched political divisions over “Obamacare,” have driven most Republican-led states to

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  • Exchanges create confusion for Medicare recipients

     Posted on October 19, 2013 at 11:35 am

    In this image made available by AARP shows Ida Gall, right speaking to an unidentified customer at the Connecticut Women's Expo on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 in Hartford, CT. AARP Connecticut volunteers Ida Gall and Sophia Forbes, seated, talked to women about the Affordable Care Act. Federal Health Officials are assuring medicare recipients that their benefits will not change when the Affordable Care Act starts. Many are confused by overlapping enrollment periods for Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/AARP)

    Dear seniors, your Medicare benefits aren’t changing under the Affordable Care Act. That’s the message federal health officials are trying to get out to some older consumers confused by overlapping enrollment periods for Medicare and so-called “Obamacare.” Medicare beneficiaries don’t have to do anything differently and will continue to go to Medicare.gov to sign up for plans. But advocates say many have been confused by a massive media blitz directing

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  • Myriad languages, cultures challenge health reform

     Posted on October 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

    In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 cancer patient Bev Veals undergoes chemotherapy treatment as her husband Scott sits by her bedside at Duke Cancer Center in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

    Set on a gritty corner of Oakland’s International Boulevard, the nonprofit Street Level Health Project offers free checkups to patients who speak a total of 22 languages, from recent Mongolian immigrants seeking a doctor to Burmese refugees in need of a basic dental exam. It also provides a window into one of the challenges for state officials who are trying to implement the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s sweeping

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  • Applying for health insurance? Homework involved

     Posted on October 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    This April 30, 2013 file photo shows the short form for the new federal Affordable Care Act application in Washington. Getting covered through President Barack Obama’s health care law might feel like a combination of doing your taxes and making a big purchase that requires some research. You’ll need accurate income information for your household, plus some understanding of how health insurance works, so you can get the financial assistance you qualify for and pick a health plan that’s right for your needs. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

    Getting covered through President Barack Obama’s health care law might feel like a combination of doing your taxes and making a big purchase that requires research. You’ll need accurate income information for your household, plus some understanding of how health insurance works, so you can get the financial assistance you qualify for and pick a health plan that’s right for your needs. The process involves federal agencies verifying your identity,

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  • Health law could overwhelm addiction services

     Posted on October 15, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    In this March 11, 2013 file photo, Michelle Adams, left, a case manager at the West Division Family Health Center in Chicago, speaks with Shavonne Bullock, a recovering heroin addict during an appointment. Bullock, who has been drug free since 2006 when she started treatment at the center, pays for her own treatment because she’s uninsured. Millions of Americans will gain insurance coverage for drug addiction and alcoholism treatment when the national health overhaul takes effect next year, and some experts predict the change will help thousands of people get clean and sober. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

    It has been six decades since doctors concluded that addiction was a disease that could be treated, but today the condition still dwells on the fringes of the medical community. Only 1 cent of every health care dollar in the United States goes toward addiction, and few alcoholics and drug addicts receive treatment. One huge barrier, according to many experts, has been a lack of health insurance. But that barrier

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  • Key consumer questions about the health reforms

     Posted on October 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm

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    How do I know whether “Obamacare” applies to me? Polls show many Americans remain mystified by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it is commonly known. But there’s an obvious starting point: Do you have health care coverage? If your employer provides health insurance for you, it’s likely you don’t have to do anything on Oct. 1, when enrollment begins. The president has said you will

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  • Newly insured to deepen primary care doctor gap

     Posted on October 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    In this March 28, 2013 file photo, medical resident Stephanie Place examines two-month-old twins Abigale, left, and Valeria Lopez as their mother Carolina Lopez, left, helps, at the Erie Family Health Center in Chicago. As clinics gear up for the expansion of health insurance, they're recruiting young doctors. Since summer 2012, Dr. Place, 28, a primary care resident at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, has received hundreds of emails and phone calls from headhunters, recruiting agencies and health clinics. The heavy recruitment means she'll have no trouble fulfilling her dream of staying in Chicago and working in an underserved area with a largely Hispanic population. She'll also be able to pay off $160,000 in student loans through a federal program aimed at encouraging doctors to work in areas with physician shortages. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

    Getting face time with the family doctor could soon become even harder. A shortage of primary care physicians in some parts of the country is expected to worsen as millions of newly insured Americans gain coverage under the federal health care law next year. Doctors could face a backlog, and patients could find it difficult to get quick appointments. Attempts to address the provider gap have taken on increased urgency

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  • ABCs of Obamacare: a glossary for consumers

     Posted on October 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    In this Tuesday, March 27, 2012 file photo, Amy Brighton from Medina, Ohio, who opposes health care reform, holds a sign in front of the Supreme Court in Washington during a rally as the court continues arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Entrenched political divisions over "Obamacare" have driven most Republican-led states to turn their backs on the biggest expansion of the social safety net in a half century. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Major new laws come with their own jargon, and President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is no exception. With the first open enrollment season kicking off for the uninsured, here are some terms consumers might want to get familiar with: Affordable Care Act — The most common formal name for the health care law. Its full title is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Opponents still deride the law

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