The Obama administration on Thursday announced a series of changes designed to buy people time as they try to gain coverage through the troubled health insurance exchange.
Among the measures is a one-month extension of a federal insurance plan for people with serious health conditions such as cancer. That pre-existing condition program, created under the Affordable Care Act, was originally due to expire on Dec. 31, but many people haven't been able to secure new coverage that would begin Jan. 1....
TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott refused Wednesday to say whether he still supports expanding Medicaid eligibility to more uninsured and poor Floridians, an issue Democrats are certain to stress during his re-election campaign next year.
Appearing at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute on Wednesday, Scott for the second time this week publicly dodged questions about his position on expanding Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. Though Scott surprised many observers by endorsing expansion earlier this year, he also was criticized for failing to press House Republicans to accept the plan....
12/10/13 Human Interest
Freud eats like a champ, but that's not why he seems ready to burst his shell.
Nobody knows, really, why Freud takes on so much air that he can't dive for food even when he tries his best. Why all he can do is float.
"He looks pretty beefy," said Dr. Kathy Heym, veterinarian at the Florida Aquarium, "but that's all air."
Freud, an endangered juvenile green sea turtle, washed up on a Panhandle beach about a year ago, bloated and covered in algae but with no visible wounds. A passer-by carried him to Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City, where workers couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. In January, Freud was sent to live at Florida Aquarium....
Health insurance is one of those topics that can make your head spin — whether you've had it for years or never at all. Next year, most Americans will need to have coverage. What's less clear is how many people will be able to make their new insurance work for them.
Just two weeks remain until the deadline to purchase Marketplace coverage that takes effect Jan. 1. For those purchasing coverage — and those who are mystified by the coverage they have — here's a brief primer....
Health policy wonks call it the "woodwork" effect: Millions of poor Americans who were eligible for Medicaid but didn't know it sign up for the program as a result of publicity around the Affordable Care Act.
A new federal report shows the phenomenon is real in most states — though not yet in Florida, which has one of the nation's stingiest Medicaid programs. In October, opening month for the Obamacare marketplace, Florida saw a small decline in the number of adults applying for Medicaid coverage....
When they were locked out of the troubled federal insurance website in its first week, Karen and Bobby Cox didn't panic. The uninsured couple from Dunedin figured they could wait until the site got fixed.
But just days after that first attempt, the Coxes lost the luxury of waiting.
Bobby Cox, a 60-year-old construction worker, learned in October he has advanced lung cancer. Now as they deal with his diagnosis, the Coxes feel no closer to securing insurance coverage than they were on the first day they logged onto healthcare.gov, the now infamous centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act....
TAMPA — A former vice president with Naples-based hospital chain Health Management Associates has been indicted on a charge of falsifying records to impede a federal investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.
Joshua S. Putter, 48, who now lives in Needham, Mass., faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, according to a news release from prosecutors.
HMA took over operations at the not-for-profit Bayfront Medical Center, now Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, earlier this year. ...
Millions of Americans may have to get new health plans because of the Affordable Care Act, but a new report argues only a fraction of them will end up paying more for new coverage.
Of the 15.2 million Americans with individual health plans, less than 10 percent would not qualify for federal subsidies to reduce their monthly costs for one of the new, more expensive plans, according to data from Families USA, a consumer organization that supports the ACA. That's less than 1 percent of the nation's total population under age 65....
More Florida children have health insurance, but the state still has one of the nation's highest rates of uninsured kids, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.
Not quite 11 percent of Florida children — about 436,000 — lack health insurance, a rate that is still higher than the national average rate of 7.2 percent, the report says. Florida ranks among the top six states with the highest numbers of uninsured children, according to the study....
Obama administration officials said Tuesday that they are days away from letting customers avoid the troubled healthcare.gov website and buy subsidized coverage directly from insurers.
Allowing direct enrollment into health plans could take pressure off of the federal marketplace site, which has struggled to handle even a third of its intended volume.
The option already has been available to people who knew their incomes were too high to qualify for subsidies. But the insurers' computer systems haven't been able to connect with the federal data hub that determines consumers' eligibility for financial assistance....
TAMPA — Over five months, Daniel Witt endured high doses of chemotherapy to shrink the cancer in his abdomen. He vomited and trembled; he grew bony and fragile. He needed his father to help him up the stairs, his wife to help him out of the chair.
But the tumor, diagnosed as advanced melanoma, kept growing.
His doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center told him there were no options left. But in October 2012, Witt flew to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas to enroll in a clinical trial for melanoma patients....
Florida's largest health insurer will give 300,000 customers who received cancellation notices the option to renew their existing plans for one more year.
Florida Blue's decision comes in the wake of President Barack Obama's reversal on Thursday. Facing political pressure over the cancellations, Obama told insurers they could revive the plans for another year, even though they don't meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act....
Amid doubts from web experts, political opponents and disgruntled consumers, Obama administration officials said Friday that repairs are on track to get healthcare.gov running smoothly for most users by the end of this month.
Speed and response times are already improving — though are far short of original plans, officials told reporters. When the website first went live, users on average had to wait eight seconds for a page to load. Last week, they said, the average time was less than one second....
Just 106,000 Americans, including about 3,500 Floridians, chose new health plans during the first month of the troubled Obamacare insurance exchanges, according to federal data released Wednesday. That's a fraction of the enrollment expected by now, and the announcement came amid mounting discontent both from longtime critics of the Affordable Care Act as well as Democrats worried about growing political fallout....
Recent days have made it clear that millions of Americans who bought health insurance on the individual market can't do what President Barack Obama said they could: keep their current health plan if they like it.
But some of those now-lamented plans weren't even what most people would consider insurance.
Known as "mini-meds'' or "junk insurance,'' these products often are little more than discount cards that can leave unknowing consumers with huge medical debt. Even a policy expert from the conservative Heritage Foundation, no fan of the Affordable Care Act, says they aren't worth keeping....