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More than 2 million enrolled, 4 million to Medicaid, officials said

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 11:09 PM
Last updated 11:18 PM
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Despite a dismal start in October, more than 2 million people have enrolled in private health insurance that could begin today under the Affordable Care Act, Obama administration officials said Tuesday.

“Tomorrow, Jan. 1, will be a new day in health care for millions of Americans,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

Another 3.9 million people who went to the Health Insurance Marketplaces were deemed eligible for their state’s Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Programs, she said. Another three million younger than 26 were able to stay on their parents’ coverage because of the law, White House Senior Advisor Phil Schiliro said.

Officials were also quick to point out new provisions of the law that take effect today, such as banning lifetime limits on coverage and preventing insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

“Every time I travel, I meet folks who have been locked out or priced out of coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition,” Sebelius said Tuesday. “And tomorrow those days are coming to an end.”

It will also end the practice of some insurers charging women higher premiums simply because they are women, she said.

“Starting tomorrow, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition,” Sebelius said.

Of the 2.1 million who enrolled in private plans, about half did so through the troubled healthcare.gov Web site, officials said. The six-month enrollment period is actually only half over – the final deadline to enroll is March 31.

“We expect those numbers will continue to grow over time,” Sebelius said.

While they touted the enrollments, officials also acknowledged that the difficult work of actually getting people access to care begins today.

Sebelius said the drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens have agreed to provide transitional prescription coverage to those who can show proof of enrollment in a plan, and the administration has met with insurance plans and providers to try to ensure a smooth transition to the new coverage.

But Schiliro said there are always transitional bumps in the road at the start of the year and when big programs, such as Medicare Part D, begin. That program’s first few weeks were fraught with headaches for pharmacists and patients who didn’t have their cards, couldn’t verify their coverage or couldn’t get through to their insurance companies. Schiliro acknowledged those same transitional problems could be ahead for the Affordable Care Act.

“The insurers, the pharmacies, the hospitals have become very good at handling that (transition),” he said. “Usually, there is not a spotlight on what they are doing. Obviously, over the next few days, there will be. Problems that have never gotten attention before will get some attention now.”

Patients are advised to call their insurance company first if there is a problem, but the government is also staffing a round-the-clock call center if more help is needed, officials said.

BE PREPARED

Going to use your Affordable Care Act coverage for the first time? Federal officials say you should first make sure that your health care provider is part of your network and make sure you have your card or temporary card that shows you have coverage. If there are problems, call the insurance company first. If the problem persists, there is round-the-clock help available at (800) 318-2596.

BIRTH CONTROL COVERAGE DELAYED BY SOTOMAYOR

WASHINGTON — A Supreme Court justice has blocked implementation of portions of President Obama’s health care law that would have forced some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that includes birth control.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s decision came Tuesday after a different effort by Catholic-affiliated groups from around the nation. Those groups rushed to the federal courts to stop today’s start of portions of the Affordable Care Act.

Sotomayor acted on a request from an order of Catholic nuns in Colorado, whose request for a stay had been denied by the lower courts. She is giving the government until Friday morning to respond to her decision.

– Associated Press

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deestafford
27412
Points
deestafford 01/01/14 - 12:34 am
6
4
They are not truly enrolled until...

They are not truly enrolled until they have paid their premium and so far we don't know if they have.

We also don't know the ages of these enrollees. Are they young (which are the ones who must be in order to carry the burden) or are they from the older groups (which will be the burden)?

Those on medicaid going to be a multi-billion dollar burden on the system that must be paid for by the taxpayers of the states that bought into that charade.

How many require susidies which are paid for by the taxpayers?

Don't believe the sunshine and roses coming form this group of liars and deceivers.

corgimom
32143
Points
corgimom 01/01/14 - 07:43 am
4
7
I'm ok with paying for poor

I'm ok with paying for poor people's health care. People get sick. People have accidents.

I'd rather pay for them to go to the doctor when they have an easily-fixed problem than wait until it becomes a very expensive, difficult-to-fix problem.

We already are paying for those people, in the way of grossly inflated health care costs. It's not as if those people haven't been getting treatment all along, it was just called "indigent care".

Lorraine
140
Points
Lorraine 01/01/14 - 08:43 am
4
4
Affordable Health Care Act Enrolles

I am glad that the numbers of persons getting enrolled in health care insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act are growing. I too support the idea of people getting the health care they need in order to live healthier lives. I have had health care insurance for many years. For me, it would be very scary to be without health care insurance. There are huge numbers of persons who are living with pre-existing health care conditions. Being afforded health care for these conditions is a win-win situation.

carcraft
25744
Points
carcraft 01/01/14 - 09:04 am
6
4
Just read a letter written by

Just read a letter written by a lady in Alabama, mother of two, married buying a house. Her insurance premiums went from $400.00/ month to over $800.00/ month. Her insurance premiums are now about $50.00 less than her mortgage. I am glad poor people can get health insurance but will they be able to pay the deductibles (up to $6,000.00 in some cases) and the copays? The Congressional budget office says that after the law is fully inacted 30 million will still lack health care coverage! So we are screwing up the health care of the 70% of the people that were statisfied with it so the government can insure my wife and I have OB care dispite the fact we are pushing 60. Oh, don't forget Obama lying like the sleeze politition he is!

carcraft
25744
Points
carcraft 01/01/14 - 09:45 am
3
3
Just read a letter written by

Just read a letter written by a lady in Alabama, mother of two, married buying a house. Her insurance premiums went from $400.00/ month to over $800.00/ month. Her insurance premiums are now about $50.00 less than her mortgage. I am glad poor people can get health insurance but will they be able to pay the deductibles (up to $6,000.00 in some cases) and the copays? The Congressional budget office says that after the law is fully inacted 30 million will still lack health care coverage! So we are screwing up the health care of the 70% of the people that were statisfied with it so the government can insure my wife and I have OB care dispite the fact we are pushing 60. Oh, don't forget Obama lying like the sleeze politition he is!

robert2410
1628
Points
robert2410 01/01/14 - 12:59 pm
3
3
If a person does not mind
Unpublished

If a person does not mind paying for others health care let them, just quit trying to pick my pocket to do so. I do mind paying for freeloaders and my rights are as precious as theirs are.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 01/01/14 - 01:46 pm
4
4
"“Every time I travel, I meet

"“Every time I travel, I meet folks who have been locked out or priced out of coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition,” Sebelius said Tuesday. “And tomorrow those days are coming to an end.”

Guess what else ends tomorrow? A large chunk of FREEDOM!!! The AFA should not and CAN NOT work in a Free Country!! But guess what? They are forcing it upon people anyway. I guess this Country isn't so free after all!! They are still trying to get people's guns too, but so far they've hit a brick wall called the 2nd Amendment. So what are they doing? Going after the 2nd best thing, ammunition!!

Bizkit
31244
Points
Bizkit 01/01/14 - 04:48 pm
4
4
After over 4 years of Obama

After over 4 years of Obama and his administration blatantly lying about the ACA why would anyone with any sense now believe what they say is credible? Gullible folks out there.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 01/01/14 - 08:49 pm
4
3
What gives ?!?
Unpublished

Not only is the government attempting to provide affordable healthcare for its citizens while taking away your ammunition - they're trying to make you turn gay too!!

corgimom
32143
Points
corgimom 01/01/14 - 11:15 pm
2
1
It's not freedom when people

It's not freedom when people cannot buy health insurance because of "preexisting conditions" that they have no control over.

And I find it so interesting, that so many of you on here have no compassion for all of those people who were unable to purchase it before.

corgimom
32143
Points
corgimom 01/01/14 - 11:18 pm
2
1
Yes, carcraft, you have birth

Yes, carcraft, you have birth control coverage even though you are pushing 60.

And my 33 year old son has coverage for Alzheimers and dementia, too.

That's how insurance works.

Oh, btw, many women "pushing 60" take birth control pills as part of hormone therapy- so that argument doesn't hold much water, either.

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