subsidies

The federal government has released a breakdown of Obamacare enrollment, including age. What you make of that information depends a lot on your expectations.

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Almost 1 million people enrolled at healthcare.gov in the last few weeks. Here's what that tells us—and what it doesn't.

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Good news: There's extra day to sign up. Bad news: It shows just how hard this is. 

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If you liked your old skimpy health plan, you may not be able to keep it. But now you can get a new, somewhat skimpy health plan instead, at least for a little while.

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Republicans and their supporters continue to fuss about the limited physician choice and relatively high deductibles that shoppers on the new Obamacare marketplaces are finding. Those of us who follow health policy continue to be amazed and exasperated at this spectacle, because Republicans have spent years arguing that this is what health insurance should look like.

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Obamacare won't be clear until this is finally dismissed

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Here are two facts that have gotten very little attention amid all the controversy about insurance plan cancellations and “rate shock.”Fact one: Thanks to Obamacare’ subsidies, several million people now have the opportunity to get private insurance at essentially no cost.Fact two: Those ultra-cheap policies are pretty threadbare. They might keep people out of bankruptcy, but they still would leave beneficiaries exposed to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses a year.

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If you’ve followed the stories of insurance cancellations related to Obamacare, you may have heard about Dianne Barrette. She’s the 57-year-old Florida realtor who was paying $54 a month for a Blue Cross insurance plan. The plan won’t be available after December. And while FloridaBlue offered her a new plan, the company told her the premium would be $591 a month. Barrette, who makes $30,000 a year and could not pay for such a plan, was flabbergasted.

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Administration officials are saying that healthcare.gov will be “functioning smoothly” by the end of November. And maybe they are right, in which case all the fuss about broken websites will become a historical footnote.But what if administration officials are wrong? What if it’s December and Obamacare’s official online portals are still barely functional? 

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The Obamacare online saga may be reaching the phase where media and political hysteria is out of proportion to the actual problem. A case in point is the controversy over enrollment numbers.

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