Obamacare 101 | KERA News

Obamacare 101

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Starting Wednesday, Texans can enroll in health care coverage for 2018 on healthcare.gov through Dec. 15.

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President Obama may be leaving office, but his landmark healthcare legislation is still law of the land. Enrollment for the fourth year under the Affordable Care Act began on Tuesday. We traced Obamacare in Texas through the story of one family.

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The White House is challenging Dallas to beat out 19 other communities in reducing the number of people without health insurance. If the city wins, it would get a visit from the President. The deadline to sign up for 2016 health insurance plans on healthcare.gov is Dec. 15th. 

About 1 million Texans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act since enrollment efforts began in 2013. That might sound like a lot, but Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Despite a very rocky start to open enrollment last year, more than 733,000 Texans bought insurance through the federal marketplace.

Still, Texas remains the state with the highest percent of uninsured people in the country. Will open enrollment this year change that? 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Americans procrastinated enrolling in health care — and Texans are no exception. With just a month left to sign up, more people enrolled after March 1 than in the first five months of open enrollment. The total number of Texans to sign up through the federal marketplace is 733,757.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

There have been tons of concerns about Obamacare, and many politicians are trying to repeal it. And, in recent weeks, there have been scores of complaints about technical issues with the clunky Healthcare.gov website.

But how is the Affordable Care Act affecting North Texans? Here are four stories featuring everyday folks across Dallas-Fort Worth. Some are pleased with Obamacare, while one has no plans to sign up. Some are frustrated with the computer glitches, while one was able to sign up online right away.

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More than 20,000 people rely on the state run Texas Health Insurance Pool. The pool insures folks with pre-existing health conditions who can’t find coverage elsewhere. In a few months, that risk pool will no longer exist. And at least one North Texas family is celebrating.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Even with Obamacare, more than one million people in Texas are in health care limbo. Since the state didn't expand Medicaid, low-income people people like Sheila Anderson won’t have access to government assistance or health insurance subsidies on the marketplace.

The Obama administration has entered full damage-control mode over the balky website intended to enroll people in new health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

It’s been three weeks since the health insurance marketplace opened in Texas. While we don’t know exactly how many people have made it all the way to the finish line, it’s clear plenty are still stuck. As part of KERA’s series Obamacare 101: Making The Choice, we profile of a Fort Worth woman who’s been uninsured for more than a decade.


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Obamacare could make getting access to healthcare a lot easier for the Riley’s. In the North Texas family of five, three are members of the Choctaw Nation and have special perks under the Affordable Care Act. As part of KERA’s series Obamacare 101: Making The Choice, we bring you a profile the Riley’s.

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Maybe you’ve heard the horror stories about the federally run health insurance marketplace: complaints about the broken website, long waits and unsuccessful sign-ups. Two pieces of good news for you: First, the glitches are getting sorted out. Second, not everyone in North Texas has to visit healthcare.gov.

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The health insurance marketplace is ten days old, and the traffic jam at healthcare.gov still hasn’t cleared up. That’s been frustrating for Texans and the people trying to sign them up. As part of our series Obamacare 101, we take a look at some North Texas companies who are celebrating, not complaining about the Affordable Care Act.

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Now that the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace is open for enrollment, what does that mean for North Texans? And if you want to take part in the marketplace, how can you make the most of it?

That’s the focus of the first hour of today’s “Think” on KERA 90.1 FM. At noon, KERA’s Lauren Silverman will talk with host Krys Boyd about Obamacare. Listen live here.

Call in with your questions: 1-800-933-5372. Or email think@kera.org

Brush up on the Affordable Care Act with KERA’s ongoing Obamacare 101 series:

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Okay, I know. Remembering birthdays, bill payments, and where you left your keys is hard enough. But there are a few dates you should keep in mind now that the Health Insurance Marketplace is up and running (sort of) in Texas. Here’s a breakdown, courtesy of the Texas Medical Association’s “Hey Doc” educational campaign.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Imagine not having to fill out that new patient form every single time you see a different physician. Or doctors getting automatic notices when a patient is admitted to the emergency room. These are some of the promises of electronic health records.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

For years the government has been trying to convince doctors to trade in their pads and pens for computers and tablets – and not just because their handwriting is often illegible. The switch plays a fundamental role in achieving the promises of Obamacare -- lower costs and more access. Not all North Texas physicians are taking the bait.

BlueCross BlueShield of Texas

The traffic jam of people checking out health insurance options online hasn’t completely let up. But here’s what North Texans will find once they make it past the login page: 40 plus plans to choose from. A handful are from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas — the largest provider of health benefits in the state.

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Speaking to an audience in New Jersey yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the opening of the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces a “felony” against young people.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

There’s been a lot of hype about the online Health Insurance Marketplace opening Oct. 1. And while it did open as planned, the traffic was intense. So intense that some people in Dallas had to go with old-fashioned paper and pen.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Need help figuring out which health insurance plan on the marketplace is right for you? That’s where the Texas “navigators” come in. These in-person assistants will help thousands across North Texas sign up for health insurance. Meet Sandra Luz, one navigator leading a team in Dallas.

Luz has filled out thousands of Children’s Health Insurance Program applications. For ten years, she’s worked with the Community Council of Greater Dallas (CCGD) helping families access health benefits.

Now, it’s time to learn more.

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More than two million Texans may qualify for insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. But many have no idea they’re eligible. We've got a calculator, so you don't have to do the math.

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This fair might not have corny dogs or deep fried lattes, but it will offer a free bag of healthy groceries and an all-you-can learn Obamacare buffet.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In just a few days, Texans will be able to start going online to check out health insurance options as part of the Affordable Care Act. And today an all-star cast headlined by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to Dallas to pitch the new marketplace. 

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Reaction to Sen. Ted Cruz’s marathon speech is mixed in Washington and in Texas.

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Update, 12:03 p.m: Sen. Ted Cruz has ended a marathon Senate speech opposing President Barack Obama's health care law after talking for 21 hours, 19 minutes.
 
The Texas Republican and tea party conservative stopped speaking at 11 a.m. Dallas time Wednesday, sitting down to yield the floor, The Associated Press is reporting. The Texas freshman began talking Tuesday afternoon, seeking to urge defunding of the 3-year-old health system overhaul. Fellow conservatives helped by making occasional remarks.

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In three weeks, the Texas health insurance marketplace will be open for business. There will be a variety of plans to choose from – the basic bronze and even platinum – but all of them, and many private insurance plans too – will be required to cover certain benefits like checkups starting in 2014.

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If you want job security and a good salary, investing in putting an “M” and a “D” in front of your name is a pretty solid way to go. Today there is unprecedented demand for MD’s, or family physicians, in Texas and across the U.S., according to a new study led by Irving-based consulting firm Merritt Hawkins.

Why?

You don't have to wait until Oct. 1 to start exploring your health insurance options. Get prepared now for the new marketplace with these tips.

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