Millions more Americans can afford a doctor’s visit under Obamacare, study shows

December 20, 2016, The LA Times, Noam Levey- The Affordable Care Act’s historic expansion of health insurance coverage has brought medical care within reach of millions of Americans who previously couldn’t afford it, new research shows. The share of adults who skipped medical care because of costs dropped by nearly one-fifth between 2013 and 2015, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund. The gains were even more dramatic in the states that have most expanded coverage through the federal healthcare law, often called Obamacare. “The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance coverage expansions are working to get people covered and help them afford healthcare,” said Sara Collins, vice president of the fund, a New York-based foundation that studies healthcare systems around the world.

Faced With Unaffordable Drug Prices, Tens Of Millions Buy Medicine Outside U.S.

December 20, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Rachel Bluth- As drug prices have spiraled upward in the past decade, tens of millions of generally law-abiding Americans have committed an illegal act in response: They have bought prescriptions outside the U.S. and imported them. One was Debra Miller, of Collinston, La., who traveled to Mexico four times a year for 10 years to get diabetes and blood pressure medicine. She quit in 2011 after the border patrol caught her returning to the U.S. with a three-month supply that had cost her $40. The former truck driver drew a stern warning not to do it again, but got to keep her pills. “I didn’t know what I did wrong,” said Miller, 51, who now pays $120 a month at Walmart for her five medications while she waits to join Medicaid.

New Special Enrollment Rules Will Shift Paperwork Burden To Consumers

December 20, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Michelle Andrews- People who want to sign up for a policy on after the annual open enrollment period ends Jan. 31 may have to produce a paper trail proving that they qualify for a “special enrollment period” before their coverage can begin, according to details of a pilot program described last week by federal officials. But the verification measures, long sought by insurance companies, may deter the very consumers the marketplace needs to attract: healthy people who may not bother signing up if doing so is a hassle.

Obamacare sign-ups hit new record even as GOP promises repeal

December 16, 2016, LA Times, Noam Levey- More than 670,000 people signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, marking the busiest single enrollment day since the healthcare law’s coverage expansion began three years ago. The record tally, announced by President Obama at his year-end news conference Friday, continues the strong enrollment this fall following Donald Trump’s Nov. 8 election victory. And it underscored again the challenge that Trump and his Republican congressional allies face in repealing Obamacare, as the law is often called. “More are signing up by the day,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room.

Affordable Care Act open enrollment deadline is approaching

December 15, 2016, MS News Now, Courtney Ann Jackson- If you want insurance on the federal exchange by January 1, the deadline to apply on is Thursday night. Facilitators across the state are walking people through the open enrollment process ahead of the deadline. “What we have also found is that we have a whole generation of Mississippians who were getting health insurance for the first time,” noted Keri Abernathy, Health Help Mississippi Program Manager. “So they do have a lot of questions.” As of Thursday morning, 33,506 Mississippians had signed up for Obamacare for 2017.  “There’s a lot of uncertainty,” added Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. “People have called her office and ask us what should they do and we said well the best thing to do if you need insurance is to buy it.

Record number of signings in Mississippi for endangered Obamacare

December 15, 2016, Mississippi Business Journal, Jack Weatherly- A record number of Mississippians have signed up for health insurance through the federal exchange, deadline for which is Thursday for those who want coverage starting Jan. 1.
Those who sign up or make changes during open enrollment after Dec. 15 but by Jan. 31 will get that coverage starting March 1. Meantime, the Trump administration vows to make short work of dismantling Obamacare. State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says the Trump plan will not happen so fast and that folks can count on coverage through 2017. “I don’t expect a wholesale repeal of it overnight,” Chaney said in an interview. “I have encouraged people to go ahead and sign up” under the Affordable Care Act. Chaney cautioned that will be fewer special signup periods.