This Aug. 21, 2014, photo shows health care tax forms 8962 and1095-A, in Washington. Who thinks about taxes around Labor Day? If you value your tax refund and you’re one of millions getting a health insurance tax credit under President Barack Obama’s health care law, it’s not too early. If you worked a lot of overtime, or maybe your spouse got a higher-paying job, arcane connections between the health law and taxes can reduce or even eliminate your refund. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)
The Affordable Care Act—also known as Obamacare—is "not an affordable product" for many people and it does not fix the underlying problems causing high health-care costs, Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC on Wednesday.
"If we're going to fix health care, we've got to get at the delivery of care and the cost of care," Bertolini said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "The ACA does none of that. The only person who's really going to drive that is the consumer and the decisions they make."
(Editor’s note: Map updated to show correct grades.)
A group that gave a little more than half the U.S. a failing grade last year when it came to price transparency in health care now says virtually every state is flunking.
The Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute are giving 45 states an “F” when it comes to monitoring health provider pricing, up sharply from the 29 states that flunked the organizations’ test in March 2013.
(Here’s the grades given by the two groups on state health price transparency for 2014….)
No states received an “A,” unlike last year, when New Hampshire and Massachusetts were at the top of the class. In fact, the groups gave New Hampshire an “F” this year for letting its website that offers details on pricing become inoperative. Massachusetts received a “B,” along with Maine.
Maine was one of the few states that maintained its grade from 2013, not including the states that flunked last year as well. Colorado, Vermont and Virginia were the only states to receive a “C” grade. Vermont maintained its status, while Colorado and Virginia slipped from “B” grades a year ago.
There are new and very broadly defined exemptions from the penalty for not having health insurance. While it still makes sense to have health insurance for the obvious financial protection, its seems as though very few people will get a penalty for not buying health insurance. For more information about health insurance, please contact John Caris at 707-935-6294 x103.
The following document shows the "hardship exemption" categories that people can use to avoid an Affordable Care Act penalty for not buying insurance.
By Michelle Andrews
JAN 21, 2014
Here is a new issue I've discovered: if you are having diagnostic services performed at a hospital, you may be charged a 'facility fee' in addition to the diagnostic service fee. This facility fee can be as high as $1,000 on top of a simple test that might only cost $200-300 by itself. Your insurance plan may not discount this fee very much. A solution to this is to look for an independent imaging center or laboratory and ask them what they would charge for your particular procedure. You will need a CPT code from your doctor so they can look up the price.
By: EDWARD MORRISSEY
The Fiscal Times
December 19, 2013
The problem with solutions is that few of them tend to be perfect, even if they act in a mostly benign manner. Actions produce reactions, a principle as true in politics as it is in physics, and those tend to multiply when solutions increase in complexity.
Q: If my family of six qualifies for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, do we have to sign up for that? Or can we still buy subsidized health care plans through Covered California? … I have real concerns about the quality of care we would get on Medi-Cal. I’m hoping for a positive answer!
A: Sadly, I’m about to disappoint Beth from Modesto and others in her situation.
Medi-Cal is the state’s publicly funded health program for low-income and disabled residents, and currently provides care to more than 8 million Californians. (It is the state’s version of the federal Medicaid program.)
Starting in January, Medi-Cal will broaden its eligibility requirements as a result of Obamacare, allowing applicants with higher incomes and those who were previously ineligible, such as childless adults, to get coverage.
But whether you’re eligible for Medi-Cal now or become eligible then, that fact alone disqualifies you from tax subsidies on the health insurance marketplace, which is called Covered California.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jonessaid he's taken steps Thursday to allow more than 1 million residents with terminating insurance plans to keep them through next year.
Jones said he's asked Covered California to release insurers offering plans on the exchange from the requirement to cancel policies that don't comply with the health care overhaul.
"I've asked Covered California to take this action immediately so that health insurers are free then from this contract provision and can follow the president's request, and my request, that they allow their existing customers to renew their policies into 2014," Jones, a staunch supporter of the federal health law, said in a conference call from San Francisco.
His move came as President Barack Obama said insurance companies could extend for one more year plans for individual policyholders that otherwise are set to be be canceled by Dec. 31.
Given the processing problems with some online health care systems, it may make sense to have a paper copy of your application from your agent.
It's a batting average that won't land the federal marketplace for Obamacare into the Healthcare Hall of Fame.
As few as 1 in 100 applications on the federal exchange contains enough information to enroll the applicant in a plan, several insurance industry sources told CNBC on Friday. Some of the problems involve how the exchange's software collects and verifies an applicant's data.
"It is extraordinary that these systems weren't ready," said Sumit Nijhawan, CEO of Infogix, which handles data integrity issues for major insurers including WellPoint and Cigna, as well as multiple Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates.
By ANNA WILDE MATHEWS AND CHRISTOPHER WEAVER
Small businesses seeking to ward off key health-law provisions—at least for a while—are weighing offers by some large insurers to hit the reset button on their yearlong health plan contracts in December.
Many contracts normally restart at the beginning of January. But, pushing the date to December could allow small firms to delay the impact of key health-law provisions that broadly kick in once plans renew after Jan. 1.
Insurers including Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc., and Humana Inc. are all offering companies the chance to do so. Under the law, small businesses' health plans would have to cover a range of required benefits and face pricing rules that spread the risk of costly medical bills. That can particularly raise prices for companies with younger, healthier workers but may lead to small increases, or even reductions, for businesses with less-healthy workers.
Sonoma Valley Insurance