Obamacare

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland is one of more than a dozen states where new Medicaid enrollees under President Barack Obama's health law have surpassed initial projections.

The projected newly eligible enrollment for fiscal year 2015 initially was 164,724.

The initial estimated cost was about $31 million for fiscal year 2017, when states begin paying their share.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is hailing the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows about 285,000 Virginians to continue receiving federal subsidies on health insurance plans purchased through on a federal marketplace.
 
The Democratic governor says he hoped the ruling would allow state lawmakers to "put partisan politics aside" and expand Medicaid, another key provision of the Affordable Care Act.
 

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials have received conditional approval from the federal government to switch to a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

While receiving approval Monday, officials cautioned that a final decision on moving to a state-run exchange has not been made.

Delaware currently is one of seven states that operate exchanges with the help of the federal government, including using the federal web portal to enroll people.

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As the U.S. Supreme Court nears the end of its term, two major cases have yet to be decided. The high court is set to rule on a glitch in the Affordable Care Act that could eliminate the federal subsidies in states that did not set up their own health insurance exchanges. The second major case raises the possibility that same-sex marriage could become a constitutional right. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush talked with NPR Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg about the upcoming decisions and the direction of the court.

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Only 23 percent of millennials in Delaware are signing up for the Affordable Care Act.

And that is among the lowest in the nation and 5 percent below the national average.

These are people between the ages of 18 and 34.

Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf told the Wilmington News Journal that she was hesitant to think that there has not been enough outreach.

Landgraf said that Medicaid enrollment may have contributed to the low signup rate for millennials.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The state of Maryland says 289,131 residents enrolled in health care in the second sign up period.

The state says 122,778 enrolled in private plans. Of those, 87,007 received an advanced premium tax credit. There were 35,771 enrolling in private plans without a subsidy.

There were 166,353 enrolled in Medicaid.

The state says 88 percent of applicants were determined eligible for financial assistance, either through Medicaid or subsidies for private plans. That's up from 80 percent a year ago.

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Signups for Maryland's Health connection are down by 10.4 percent so far.

That's despite efforts to increase the enrollment numbers, including a larger call center staff and a streamlined website.

February 15th was the enrollment deadline.

And, only 264,245 people have signed up.

That's compared to 295,077 during last year's longer open enrollment period.

But, the numbers are not final yet.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Federal officials say nearly 300,000 Virginians have signed up for the health insurance marketplace under the program's second open enrollment.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says 298,981 people signed up ahead of the deadline Thursday for coverage starting Feb. 1.

For those who missed the deadline, an open enrollment period will extend until Feb. 15. If that deadline is missed, the earliest coverage for those seeking it would be in 2016.

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Delaware state officials say they are making progress signing up residents for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

They say they have seen 209 sign ups and plan renewals in the first two weeks of open enrollment.

Health Secretary Rita Landgraf said yesterday that people are coming in and are highly motivated.

Landgraf says that preliminary surveys from the statewide marketplace guides and agents say the interest is there.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's health department says more than 7,300 health insurance enrollments have been completed since the second open enrollment period began.

The department reported that 7,309 enrollments have been completed by 4:45 p.m. Thursday. About 18,615 applications have begun.

The department says there have been 117,000 visitors to the website since enrollment began Saturday at a Glen Burnie sign up fair.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's revamped health exchange website has opened early for people to enroll in insurance plans.

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein announced on Twitter that the website was open for individuals to enroll on Tuesday, a day early.

Andrew Ratner, a spokesman for the exchange, says it seems to be working well so far. Ratner says 5,324 people have applied and 1,915 applications have been completed since early Tuesday afternoon.

Ratner says the state decided to open the website early after other aspects of a gradual rollout worked well.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's information technology secretary says the state will be testing how well its revamped health exchange website can handle thousands of users over different periods of time.

Isabel FitzGerald gave an update on Tuesday about how work is going. The state has incorporated new technology from Connecticut to revamp the website, which crashed on the day it opened last year.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials says some 300 Delawareans remain at risk of losing insurance coverage under the federal health care reform law because they have yet to submit documentation verifying their eligibility.

Federal officials sent out notices last month to more than 300,000 people nationwide, including about 700 in Delaware, with inconsistencies in their citizenship or immigration data. Officials say about 55 percent of those Delaware cases have since been resolved.

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A Gallup survey found that Delaware is number three among states with the best rates of getting uninsured people health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

But state official believe the gap may be wider than the survey indicates.

The report found that the state had a 7.2 percent decline for those with no health insurance coverage.

That’s behind Arkansas with 10.1% and Kentucky with 8.5%.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that all the leaders expanded eligibility for Medicaid and implemented their own exchanges.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delawareans could face higher insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act next year under new rate requests from insurers.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is seeking average premium increases of 5 percent for individuals who bought insurance through Delaware's exchange. Exact premium changes will depend on factors including which plan is selected. Highmark says its premium increase reflects an aging population, prevalence of chronic illnesses and higher costs for new medicines and procedures.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland official says a computer glitch with Connecticut's health exchange will be corrected in the version Maryland will be using as it revamps its own troubled website with Connecticut's technology.

Isabel FitzGerald, the state's secretary of information technology, told a legislative oversight panel Tuesday that Maryland is on schedule to have its flawed website fixed with the new technology in time for the next open enrollment period in November.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Republican lawmakers in several states including Delaware continue to push for tighter oversight of workers who help people apply for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act, even though there's no sign yet that enrollment assistants have misused consumers' personal information.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Newly released figures show that Maryland fell far short of projections enrolling residents for private insurance through its troubled health exchange, even as national enrollment figures exceed expectations.

Numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services show that 67,757 Marylanders have signed up for private insurance through under the Affordable Care Act. Last year, federal officials had projected that 150,000 Marylanders would enroll.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials say just fewer than 14,400 people have enrolled in Delaware's health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act. That's up from about 11,300 reported last month.

Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf also reported Thursday that 4,217 Delawareans were eligible for coverage under expanded Medicaid rules that the state adopted as part of an effort to reduce the number of uninsured.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials will provide an update on enrollment in Delaware's health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.

As the open enrollment period for this year expired late last month, officials said Delaware already had met and exceeded a federal target of 8,000 enrollments.

Officials planned to provide more exact figures and demographic data on enrollees to the state health care commission on Thursday.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A Maryland board is scheduled to discuss what the state will do about its badly flawed health exchange website.

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board of Trustees has a 5 p.m. meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday, when it could officially decide to use technology from another state that has had a more successful exchange rollout. Maryland is one of 14 states with its own exchange.

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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.

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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) - 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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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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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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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials have reached a tentative agreement with one insurance carrier that could allow policyholders facing cancellations because of the Affordable Care Act to keep their policies for the time being.

Officials announced the tentative agreement Wednesday but did not identify the carrier.

The Department of Insurance is continuing discussions with other carriers about allowing policyholders to renew policies that don't comply with the federal health care law.

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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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