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Analysis: How will Obamacare Premiums Behave during Second Open Enrollment – Part 1

Pocket watch buried in sandThe second open enrollment period is quickly approaching and the biggest question on everyone’s mind is – how will Obamacare premiums behave in the second year of reformed health insurance coverage? We are roughly two months away from open enrollment and any solid number on rate increase is far from available. As we approach November 15, most health plans across different states will show how premium rates will increase for 2015. However, we are currently limited to projections of how Obamacare will look like in the second year of coverage.
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Are Billing Problems Forming a New Set of Challenges for Obamacare?

Billing serviceAt outset of Obamacare, all eyes were on the troubled healthcare.gov launch that gripped the administration on October 1, 2013. While the Affordable Care Act was being lauded as the coveted reformer of the health insurance, it had its own demons to fight.

As time passed, exchange problems were weeded out and the system became better, with the administration launching offline enrollment measures to keep enrollments up. When the results started coming in, the administration had exceeded its expectations to finally deliver 8 million newly insured individuals on the federal exchange. The number of young adults, coveted for risk balancing in health insurance industry, signed up in decent numbers, with nearly 35 percent people signing up from this demographic. The administration thought most of the exchange problems were solved.
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Anti-Obamacare Spending Boosted Enrollments, Say Reports

HiResSince its inception, the Affordable Care Act has attracted the ire of opposition for mainly being a Democratic idea. The GOP has tried more than once to repeal the law. When the repeal did not work, it tried for a replacement of the law. The idea of replacement didn’t work, as the alternative did not hold ground against the already established Obamacare.

After the launch debacle of healthcare.gov and other state exchanges, the GOP utilized the fiasco to fan the flames of discontent among the public and strongly pushed for a complete repeal of the law. [Side note: We haven’t seen the last of this push, the exchanges should be featured prominently during the upcoming elections in November.] The exchanges were staggering under the combined pressure of failed technology, a broken enrollment system and continuous pressure from the opposition and the public to deliver on ACA’s promise. To add to the woes of the Obama administration, the Republican side launched a well thought-out negative ad campaign that was meant to break the law’s remaining hold on the health insurance market.
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Burwell vs Hobby Lobby: What’s The Impact On Corporations?

iStock_000021534883SmallWith a Supreme Court ruling adding fuel to the fire, the Burwell vs Hobby Lobby fight is far from over. Let’s start with a little background first. The Affordable Care Act mandated that the employers providing health insurance coverage to employees must cover all forms of birth control. However, not all organizations agreed with the ‘all forms of birth control’ aspect of the law by citing religious reasons for their reservations. The owners of these organizations argued that the law is forcing them to cover contraceptive methods that can displace a fertilized egg, which is equated to abortion by the owners of these organizations. Since abortion and these contraceptive methods are against their religious beliefs, the corporations decided to file suit to get the law amended.
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Colorado: A Roundup of the State with Solid Obamacare Enrollment Progress

iStock_000013908904XSmallOut of the states that adopted Obamacare from the start and chose to establish their own state-based health insurance exchanges, Colorado was one of the forerunners. The Centennial State was already making strong progress in healthcare and reforms, and took up Obamacare to further its position as one of the leaders in healthcare.

Other than taking the lead to establish a state exchange, Colorado also participated in the Medicaid expansion to cover people up to 133 percent of federal poverty line. Currently, available numbers show that Colorado has made strong progress on reducing the number of uninsured in the state. The state has cut the number of uninsured by 6 percentage points since 2013.
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Enrollment Roundup: Obamacare-Embracing States Enjoying Lowest Uninsured Rates

iStock_000010711881SmallAs you know, Obamacare was designed to lower uninsured rates and drive America to a fully insured, highly efficient healthcare system. Although the rollout of the law that set such ambitious aims for itself was disappointing, the end result was laudable with 8 million Americans enrolling for insurance coverage. Since the inception of the law, the country was divided into two camps, States which decided to build their own exchanges and States that refused.

Now, it appears that the States that created state-based exchanges are boasting the lowest uninsured rates in the country.
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Is Crucial Latino Enrollment in Health Exchanges Hampered by Immigration Status?

Immigration Law CourtThe Obamacare death spiral was a topic of debate in 2014. Opponents of Obamacare projected that there weren’t enough young, healthy individuals enrolled with the system, and that the law would collapse under its own weight. Although that collapse did not come to pass, Obamacare still requires a large number of young individuals who can help offset the costs of premiums and control the premium increases scheduled for 2015. Naturally to accomplish this, the Obama administration needs to rengage the young population and encourage them to enroll in an exchange.
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Why are More than 300,000 People About to Lose Obamacare Insurance?

iStock_000027114988SmallOn the launch of healthcare.gov and state-based exchanges, a major fear gripped undocumented sections of the American population – could the Immigration authorities use the information submitted for getting health coverage on Obamacare marketplaces to take action? The people living undocumented in the country feared that if they disclose their family income and status while applying for the coverage, the personal information they divulge might create problems later. The fear was so strong that most of these groups did not participate in Obamacare exchange enrollment, and preferred to stay away from better health insurance coverage.
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What’s so special about Obamacare’s Special Enrollment Period?

UniqueWith health reform surpassing its reach over health insurance to cover tax filing and penalties, Obamacare has brought in new variables this year for a majority of American population. Health insurance coverage or tax penalties, Americans would either have to go with one of these two paths in 2014-2015. For people who did not buy health insurance by the end of Open Enrollment period on March 31, 2014, tax penalties would creep in during tax filing. If you missed the open enrollment period and still want to shield yourself from these tax penalties, you might cover yourself, literally and metaphorically, in the Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
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Obamacare Roadmap: The Plan to Ace Midterms with ACA – Part 3

Road in the forest with guide signIn the first and second parts of this series, we have covered the Obama administration’s plan around the ACA for the coming midterms – the defense they have prepared for the criticism and opposition to the ACA, and the actual benefits Obamacare has delivered to the U.S. healthcare system in the past few months. There are some improvements required to the law, and they have featured equally well in the plan for the midterms. However, there is one aspect that the administration hasn’t touched until now, and that is the Republican alternative to the ACA.

The history of the alternative to ACA dates as far back as the inception date of the plan. Republicans have strived to bring to table a law that weeds out the instabilities of ACA and brings in a solution that addresses the problems of the Obamacare without removing its benefits. Unfortunately, they haven’t been successful in presenting a fully detailed act that can replace ACA. Still, the administration is readying itself for any surprises that might unravel during the midterms.
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