In States, More Good Coverage of Obamacare

Leading into the Thanksgiving holiday, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues to improve and sign ups continue to increase across the country. Here’s a sampling of what’s been going on in the states this past week.

In New York, “Health Insurance Exchange Reaches 76,177 Enrollments”
“State officials are starting to trumpet the success of New York’s health insurance exchange. In the first of what they say will be  weekly updates, officials posted new enrollment numbers on the New York State of Health Website showing 76,177 enrollments as of Sunday. The figures also show  257,414 completed applications.”

In Kentucky, “Uninsured line up” to sign up for health care
“In a state where 15 percent of the population, about 640,000 people, are uninsured, 56,422 have signed up for new health-care coverage, with 45,622 of them enrolled in Medicaid and the rest in private health plans, according to figures released by the governor’s office Friday… Kids: five. Salary: about $14,000 before taxes. ‘You’re going to qualify for a medical card,’ she told Hudson. ‘Well, thank God,’ Hudson said, laughing. ‘I believe I’m going to be a Democrat.’ Lively printed out his papers.  ‘RONALD’s Health Care Coverage Options,’ one of them read. ‘Oh, man,’ Hudson said.”

In California, “California enrolls 80,000 in health plans”
“The pace of enrollment in California continues to accelerate. The Covered California exchange got 30,830 health plan enrollees in October, its first month. By Nov. 19, it had enrolled nearly 50,000 more people in private health plans for a seven-week total of 79,891. The exchange said about 2,700 people are signing up for insurance coverage daily.”

In New Jersey, “Medicaid applications up 35 percent since Obamacare exchange opened”
“The number of applicants to the State’s Medicaid program — known as New Jersey FamilyCare — during October totaled 21,946, an increase of 35 percent from September when 16,339 applicants were reported, according to NJ Citizen Action Health Policy Advocate Maura Collinsgru. She said she learned about the information during a Medicaid Assistance Advisory Council Meeting today. . . . “Enrollment in NJ Family Care is up and shows New Jerseyans are eager to get coverage,” Collinsgru said. Calls to the FamilyCare telephone line rose 60 percent, she added.”

In Illinois, “More than 47,000” have applied for Medicaid in 2 months
“Thirty years after losing his job with the U.S. Postal Service, 61-year-old Kankakee resident Kenneth Faulkner will have insurance for the first time through Medicaid. More than 47,000 low-income people in Illinois have applied for Medicaid since October on the state-run website, Illinois also got 42,000 additional Medicaid applicants by sending a letter to the 123,000 people receiving food stamps in August. Another more than 100,000 people in Cook County, where an early Medicaid pilot program began a year ago, have already enrolled . . . . Illinois was one of 25 states plus the District of Columbia that chose to expand Medicaid after the U.S. Supreme Court gave states the choice to do so. The state estimates that 342,000 people in Illinois will enroll in Medicaid because of the change in the law by 2017.”

Washington State “outpacing others in enrolling residents”
“More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October — most in Medicaid — and about 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant, officials credit the exchange's success in part to the Pacific Northwest's high-tech bent. Colorado enrolled just over 37,500 people in the same period. New York state — with a population nearly three times the size of Washington's — had enrolled just more than 48,000 in health plans as of Tuesday, state officials announced. Kentucky enrolled more than 32,000 in its first month. California is expected to release figures this week. All are among the states that embraced Obamacare and crafted their own insurance exchanges rather than rely on the federal site . . .”

Also in Washington State, The Obamacare horror story that wasn’t, “totally uninsured” family gets insurance
“After Jessica Sanford was misquoted on her new health care rate, critics hammered the health care law for the injustice, Except there’s a key detail none of these media outlets mentioned. Which is: Sanford’s son was discovered to qualify for Medicaid coverage at a cost of just $30 a month. He has ADHD and, according to Sanford, it costs them $250 a month for prescription drugs alone. Which will now all be covered. It’s true the rest of her insurance won’t get a big discount, as she had first thought. . . . But a bronze-level policy for a 48-year-old woman making $49,000 can be had on the state exchange for $237 a month, and a silver-level policy for $313. So here’s a family that was totally uninsured for 15 years because it had always cost at least $500 to $600 a month for skimpy policies to cover them both. And what they can get now is full coverage for $30 a month for the son and scantier coverage in the $250 to $300 a month range for the mom. How is that a horror story?”

In Kansas, Eagle Editorial: “Medicaid expansion a lifesaver”
“But by neglecting to be among the roughly half of states expanding Medicaid under the ACA as of 2014 to cover those whose income is 138 percent of the federal poverty level, Kansas already is sitting out the first of three years during which the federal government will pick up the full cost of expansion. That’s dumb – a case of Kansas subsidizing other states while idly letting thousands of its own people remain not only uninsured but uninsurable under the ACA… Continuing to deny Medicaid expansion may hold a misguided political appeal, but it will do a grave and shameful disservice to Kansans and Kansas hospitals.”

In Indiana, community health center “receives ‘substantial grant’. . . allowing greater reach of services”
“There are exciting changes ahead for a local health center that for years has been providing health services to the poor in the Wabash Valley. A recent infusion of federal dollars will allow The Wabash Valley Health Center, commonly known as St. Ann Medical and Dental Services, to continue to provide health care, expand its services and reach more people in the Valley. The Wabash Valley Health Center (WVHC), sponsored by the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, was awarded a $778,750 grant from the United States Health and Human Services (HHS). It is one of six health centers in Indiana recently awarded the New Access Point funds under the Affordable Care Act. . . On Sunday, Sister Lawrence Ann Liston, administrator of the Wabash Valley Health Center, told the Tribune-Star about the grant and the changes ahead. ‘Receiving this grant rewards the hard work of the citizens of Terre Haute, the clinic board and the staff of the health center. We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to expand access to primary care in Terre Haute.’”

In Kentucky, “Ky.'s health care sign ups going well”
“Kentucky's program, Kynect, has enrolled 56,422 Kentuckians as of Nov. 22, said Carrie Banahan, executive director the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. An additional 22,000 have entered personal information through the website and have found they are eligible for subsidized insurance but have yet to pick a plan.”