Affordable Care Act

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The clock is ticking for Delaware residents who want to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. 

With the open enrollment period for Delaware's health insurance exchange expiring at midnight Monday, officials are urging those who have not yet signed up to do so.

Health and Social Services officials said there were 18 locations around the state where residents could get help enrolling in the exchange. St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington was offering help right up to the midnight deadline.

Executive Office of the Governor

BALTIMORE (AP) - Uninsured Maryland residents are facing a deadline to enroll in a health care plan in a state that still has serious computer problems with its online health exchange.

The deadline for enrollment without paying an IRS penalty under the federal health care overhaul is midnight Monday.

People can get help enrolling in person at locations around the state. The Maryland Health Connection website has a list of places around the state.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper are joining Delaware's health and social services secretary to encourage state residents to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Open enrollment on Delaware health insurance exchange for coverage this year ends at midnight Monday.

With the deadline fast approaching, Delaware officials planned to gather Friday in Wilmington in a last-minute push to encourage residents to sign up for coverage.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's health exchange board has adopted a plan to help people who have tried to enroll before the deadline at the end of the month but were unable to complete an application.

The board approved the plan Tuesday.

Maryland's online health exchange has been plagued with computer problems since its Oct. 1 debut.

Under the plan adopted by the board, consumers will be able to let the exchange know that they have started an application but have been unable to finish it.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Federal officials say slightly more than 6,500 Delaware residents have signed up on the state's health insurance exchange as of March 1.

The numbers released by the Obama administration on Tuesday are lower than the roughly 7,000 enrollees as of Feb. 28 that were reported by state officials last week.

Delaware officials noted that the state's total includes those who enrolled directly with their insurance company for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, as well as those who enrolled through the exchange.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials say about 7,000 Delawareans have chosen private insurance plans under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf told the state Health Care Commission on Thursday that 6,994 people had selected plans in Delaware's health insurance exchange as of Feb. 28, an increase of about 38 percent over the previous month

Officials are no longer reporting how many people have actually paid for coverage, as opposed to simply choosing a plan.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Republican Maryland congressman says he believes the investigative arm of Congress should look into problems with the state's health care exchange website.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Wednesday agreed to a request from a group of House Republicans to audit how $304 million in federal grants were spent on the Oregon health exchange website. A GAO spokesman says other states with troubled exchanges will be included as the investigation goes forward.

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The Virginia House and Senate split over whether to accept federal Medicaid funds to expand health insurance to as many as 400-thousand low-income residents.

The Republican controlled House voted against the expansion of eligibility when they approved their version of the state budget.

Meanwhile, the Democratically controlled Senate with a few Republicans going along voted for the expanded coverage.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials say enrollment in the state's new health insurance exchange increased by almost 60 percent in the past month.

Officials told the Delaware Health Care Commission on Thursday that 5,062 people had enrolled in the state's exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act as of Jan. 31. That's up from 3,183 enrollments reported last month.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has given final approval to a bill to help people who could not enroll in a private health plan on Maryland's health exchange website due to computer problems last year.

The Senate voted 34-7 on Wednesday to agree with changes made by the House.

The change requires the Maryland Health Insurance Plan to report to legislative panels about how enrollment is going for people who sought coverage for Jan. 1 but couldn't get through the website in time.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A final vote is near on a measure to help people who could not enroll in a private health plan on Maryland's health exchange website due to computer problems last year.

The Senate, which already approved a version of the bill, could take up final passage as soon as Wednesday on the bill that has some changes made by the House of Delegates.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's House of Delegates will likely vote Tuesday on a plan to help residents who have struggled with the state's health insurance exchange online.

The bill would let customers sign up for retroactive coverage in the Maryland Health Insurance Plan, a separate safety net plan. 

Private insurance companies in the health exchange opened similar retroactive coverage options, but a deadline to register was last week.

The Senate approved the bill Jan. 21.

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Governor Martin O’Malley says the administration will stay with its own troubled health insurance exchange in the run up to the March 31st deadline for open enrollment instead moving to the federal website.

Maryland state officials also say they will be reaching out to customers in an agreement with insurers to provide retroactive coverage for those who were not successful in signing up on the state exchange.

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Governor Martin O’Malley says he believes that Maryland’s troubled health insurance exchange will meet its enrollment goal by the end of March.

During an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” O’Malley admitted there were problems with the complex technology but said that the state is more than half way towards meeting its goal.

While exceeding expectation on the Medicaid front the state has only enrolled just over 20-thosuand people in private plans.

The goal is 150-thousand.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials say 1,145 people have enrolled in the state's new health insurance exchange and paid their first premiums under the federal health care reform law.

Officials on Thursday also reported that 5,732 Delawareans have been identified as potentially newly eligible for Medicaid coverage, including expanded coverage that is part of the Affordable Care Act.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Rep. John Delaney is formally asking for a specific assessment of the idea of switching to the federal health exchange while Maryland's computer-troubled exchange is being repaired.

Delaney made the request in a letter Monday to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the state's health secretary.

Delaney raised the possibility of a switch last month. He writes that Maryland could make the switch in whole or in part or on a temporary basis.

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Amid the troubles with the Affordable Care Act rollout, there is good news for health coverage of children in Maryland.  Maryland News Connection reporter Allison  Burns has the story on a new report.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's insurance commissioner says individual policies that don't comply with the federal health care overhaul can be extended through the end of next year.

Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith said in a memo to insurers Tuesday that they can renew such policies for 2014 as long as the renewals take effect before Jan. 1.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's health and social services secretary is updating a state panel on the federal health care reform effort in Delaware.

Secretary Rita Landgraf was scheduled to brief the Delaware Health Care Commission on Thursday about enrollment in the state's new health insurance exchange.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - More than a month after the launch of Delaware's health insurance exchange, officials report only four Delawareans enrolled for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

As of Tuesday, Delaware's marketplace guide organizations reported four enrollments, 31 enrollment applications completed and 218 accounts created for possible enrollment.

Four community organizations were hired to provide marketplace guides, using a $4 million federal grant.

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Congressman Andy Harris opposed last night’s bipartisan deal that reopened the federal government and extended the nation’s debt ceiling.

The Eastern Shore Republican in a statement that he could not back a measure that would continue spending levels and does not reduce the $650-billion budget deficit.

He also blasted the continuing exemption of congressional members from the Affordable Care Act as well as other “accounting gimmicks.”

Dept. of Health and Human Services (Delaware)

SELBYVILLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials are celebrating the state's first health insurance exchange enrollee.

Department of Health and Social Service officials have declared 59-year-old Janice Baker of Selbyville the first confirmed resident to enroll in the marketplace. It opened Oct. 1 as part of the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials say they're still experiencing problems with the launch of the state's new health insurance exchange.

Officials as of Thursday have yet to confirm a single enrollment in the exchange, part of the federal health care reform effort.

The state health care commission also was told that only about half of the 68 "marketplace guides" being hired to teach people about the exchange and help them enroll have been fully certified, with many still awaiting completion of federal criminal background checks.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

And, this year the Affordable Care Act that just saw the health exchanges get up and running, marking a major shift in women's access to for their health care needs.

Maryland News Connection reporter Allison Burns has the story.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Officials say more than 13,000 residents have created accounts on Maryland's online marketplace for health insurance.

But technical issues remain in using Maryland Health Connection, the state-based health insurance marketplace, officials said Monday.

Becca Pearce, the executive director, said in an emailed statement that the Connection's technical team has added server capacity and plans to update the system's software.

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Delaware residents and millions around the nation flooded the computers of the health insurance exchanges on Day 3 of open enrollment.

Delaware has decided to add two multi-state plans to the 19 that it already offers under the Affordable Care Act.

Delaware’s Secretary of Health and Social Services Rita Landgraf says that 4-thousand paper forms have been ordered to meet demand.

But those will only be used by higher-income buyers who earn too much to quality for a federal subsidy.

Landgraf says she hopes to have more than 70 guides and navigators in place.

Maryland Health Connection Website

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland residents are still finding delays with the state's new online marketplace for health insurance.

The Maryland Health Connection website on Wednesday informed website users that the online marketplace may be temporarily unavailable as technicians conduct maintenance and test improvements in performance.

The website had problems on Tuesday almost as soon as it opened.

The website couldn't handle the volume of people trying to create accounts all at once.

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The district offices of Congressman Andy Harris have been closed and his district staff furloughed as the effect of the government shutdown begins to spread.

The Eastern Shore Republican says he is preparing to donate his paycheck as the government shutdown takes hold.

His Washington office will be manned by two staff members.

In a statement issued on Tuesday Harris blamed the President and Senate for the shutdown calling the Affordable Care Act a disaster that will cripple the Maryland economy.

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Delaware

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials say they're ready for open enrollment to begin in the state's new health insurance exchange.

But officials acknowledge that glitches are likely as a key component of the federal health reform law is launched Tuesday.

Among other things, not all of the 68 marketplace guides being hired to help people learn about and enroll in the health care exchange will be in place when open enrollment begins.

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As the nation prepares to launch the Health Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act Maryland state officials expect to sign up to 5-thousand uninsured in the tri-county area of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester by March  31st , which is the end of open enrollment. 

That’s out of 23-thousand that are not insured.

And state health officials estimate that 90 percent of those uninsured would actually quality for a federal subsidy to buy insurance.

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