HCPLive Network

Affordable Care Act Exchanges Are Up and Running

 
TUESDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the first federal government shutdown in 17 years and a push by Republicans in the House of Representatives to delay further implementation of "Obamacare," the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges opened for business today.

The new health exchanges offer one-stop shopping for health insurance coverage where eligible Americans can compare health plans and prices and choose coverage based on their needs. The exchanges will also help consumers determine whether they are eligible for public health coverage under Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

According to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, some seven million people are expected to enroll in private health coverage through the exchanges in 2014; another nine million will enroll in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. How smoothly enrollment goes will vary by state. Officials in Colorado, Oregon, and the District of Columbia have announced computer system issues prior to the kick-off of open enrollment, which runs through March 31, 2014. People in Oregon can't apply for coverage online for several weeks. Those who want to apply immediately must contact one of the exchange's licensed agents or community partners.

Jesse Ellis O'Brien, a health care advocate with the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group Foundation, told HealthDay he "wouldn't be surprised" if other states found their websites weren't quite ready to go live, either. "I think the key thing is Oct. 1 is a starting point -- it's not a finish line," he added.

More Information
 
Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
 
 

Further Reading
The Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges rollout did not run smoothly on Tuesday as many consumers were frustrated by long delays and computer system failures.
Computer troubles continued to plague the launch of the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges on Wednesday. But Obama administration officials said Wednesday that the computer glitches were a reflection of heavy consumer interest in the exchanges, not flaws with the online registration system.
In 2013, 4.3 million seniors and people with disabilities saved an estimated $3.9 billion on prescription drugs, an increase from the 2012 savings, according to a report published by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The majority of health care professionals are concerned about negative outcomes relating to enactment of the Affordable Care Act, although they recognize the benefits, according to a survey conducted by Coupa Software.
About 50 percent of uninsured adults do not intend to sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's health care exchanges, according to an article published March 26 in Medical Economics.
A small number of doctors received at least $3 million each in Medicare payments in 2012, for a total of nearly $1.5 billion, according to an analysis of Medicare claims data released Wednesday by the White House. In total, Medicare paid individual physicians nearly $64 billion in 2012. The median payment was just over $30,000, the Associated Press reported.
With the resignation of US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday, the Affordable Care Act will get a fresh face. But turning around public perception of the controversial health care reform law in a politically charged mid-term election year poses an enormous challenge for the department's next leader, policy experts said.
More Reading