Affordable Care Act

Heartland Health Monitor
9:21 am
Thu January 22, 2015

ACA Enrollment Up In Kansas And Missouri, Though Pace Slow

Thousands of Kansans and Missourians signed up for insurance on the federal exchange last week, though the pace has slowed since the first several robust weeks of the second Affordable Care Act open enrollment period.

New figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services show that during the week ending Jan. 16, 11,797 new or renewing enrollees in Missouri brought the state total to 209,336.

The total in Kansas reached 80,064 with the addition of 4,228 signing up.

Read more
Up To Date
12:38 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Kathleen Sebelius On ACA and Governor Brownback

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, talks honestly with Steve Kraske about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, and offers her opinion on Governor Brownback's vision for Kansas.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
2:57 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Brownback Budget Includes Medicaid Changes, Tobacco Tax Increase

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration outlined a sweeping budget plan Friday that includes changes to Medicaid and increases in the state’s tobacco and alcohol taxes.

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan said closing a $650 million budget gap will require new tax revenue and slowed expenses in the state’s “three major cost drivers”: public schools, public employee pensions and Medicaid.

“It is time to make additional changes to both better the care coordination of 400,000-plus members in Medicaid and, second, to further bend down the cost curve in Medicaid,” Sullivan said.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
11:06 am
Thu January 15, 2015

ACA Insurance Enrollment Nearly Doubles In Missouri And Kansas

The number of Missourians and Kansans signing up for private health insurance in the federal marketplace has surpassed last year’s numbers, and enrollment continues at a steady clip.

Figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show that nearly 76,000 Kansans and nearly 198,000 Missourians chose a health plan or re-enrolled on between the start of open enrollment on Nov. 15 and Jan. 9.

Enrollment in both states has surged about 94 percent in the last month.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
5:48 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Missouri Health Advocates Encouraged By ACA Enrollment Numbers

At roughly the midpoint of the second Affordable Care Act open-enrollment period, health advocates say they’re happy with the number of people signing up in Missouri.

Ryan Barker, vice president of health policy at the Missouri Foundation for Health, said that more than 102,000 people enrolled in health plans in the first month alone. In the entire first open enrollment period, 152,000 people signed up.

“We are very confident that we will exceed the numbers from last year,” Barker said in a teleconference Thursday with reporters.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
10:20 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Company Chosen As ACA Navigator In Kansas City Faces Criticism

George Mayer, a retired software developer, was one of the highly regarded volunteer health reform navigators who worked at Shepherd's Center Central in Kansas City, Mo., during the first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

A Maryland company that has reaped millions of dollars in federal health-reform grants for work around the country is drawing fire for its performance in the Kansas City area.

Critics say that Advanced Patient Advocacy (APA), a privately held company, has been slow off the mark in its role as a “navigator” organization, charged with helping consumers find coverage through the health insurance marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
11:46 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Half Or More Of Obamacare Enrollees In Kansas And Missouri Are New

At least half of Kansans and Missourians who signed up for 2015 health insurance through the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces are new consumers, data released Tuesday show.

Of the 102,087 Missourians who chose a marketplace plan from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15, 50 percent are new and 50 percent have reenrolled, according to the figures from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Of the 39,023 Kansans who enrolled in the same period, 53 percent are new and 47 percent have reenrolled.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
9:32 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Kansas And Missouri Consumers Have Big Stake In U.S. Supreme Court Decision

Consumers in Kansas and Missouri are among those who could be most affected if the U.S. Supreme Court eliminates federal subsidies in states that didn’t set up their own health insurance marketplaces.

The court announced on Monday that it will hear arguments in the case — King v. Burwell — on March 4, 2015. 

At issue is whether the Affordable Care Act authorizes federal subsidies only in state-operated marketplaces and not in the federal marketplace being used by consumers in Kansas, Missouri and up to 35 other states.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
5:08 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Kansas City-Area Hospitals Penalized For Infection Rates And Other Injuries

These 11 hospitals in the metropolitan area will have to forfeit 1 percent of their Medicare revenues in fiscal 2015 under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, which was established by the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Eleven Kansas City-area hospitals have been hit with penalties for hospital-acquired infections and other complications that Medicare deems avoidable.

The hospitals’ Medicare payments will be docked by 1 percent in the fiscal year that runs from October 2014 through September 2015.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
4:09 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Obamacare Plays Major Role In Brownback Budget Fix

When Gov. Sam Brownback announced this week a list of stopgap measures to close a $280 million budget hole, one of the biggest chunks was $55 million from a “Kansas Department of Health and Environment Fee Fund Sweep” made possible in part by a federal law the governor has strenuously opposed and criticized.

The $55 million comes from a Medicaid drug rebate program that was expanded as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
11:01 am
Wed December 3, 2014

ACA Ups Number Of Kansas State Workers Eligible For Full-Time Benefits

Beginning in January, more than 80 percent of workers currently eligible for part-time benefits in the Kansas state employee health plan will be eligible for full-time benefits under changes mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
10:04 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Kansas Safety Net Clinics Seek New Sites

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is seeking a $650,000 grant to expand.
Credit File photo


Even with the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans still lack health insurance.

For them, safety net clinics are a lifeline. These clinics provide primary care for anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

Today, there are federally funded clinics in 21 Kansas counties, but there soon could be more.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
12:11 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Kansas Consumers Have More ACA Enrollment Options

Sherry Calderwood, a waitress at a Topeka breakfast spot frequented by legislators and lobbyists, didn’t buy insurance through the Obamacare marketplace last year but will this year to cover the cost of treating a recently diagnosed blood disorder.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service


Sherry Calderwood wishes she could turn back the clock.

Last fall, she and her husband decided not to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace because it cost too much.

RELATED STORY: Kansas City Groups Target Hard-To-Reach For Health Insurance 

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
9:47 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Affordable Care Act Gets Mixed Reviews At Kansas Economic Conference

Former Kansas Medicaid official Andy Allison spearheaded the expansion effort in Arkansas as director of that state’s program. He says an infusion of young and relatively healthy Medicaid recipients into Arkansas’ private insurance market is pushing down rates for everyone else.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service



Which of the following is true?

  • The Affordable Care Act has provided thousands of low-income Kansas with greater access to affordable health insurance.
  • A looming ACA mandate has caused some Kansas employers to hire fewer full-time workers and instead fill positions with part-time employees.
  • The combination of reductions in Medicare rates and the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid eligibility has put Kansas hospitals in a financial bind.

The correct answer is “all of the above.”

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
4:04 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Navigators Share Strategies For Obamacare Enrollment

Bill Brock, an application counselor with Swope Health Services in Kansas City, Mo., made a point at a Thursday forum on insurance coverage through the health reform law. The secret to getting people signed up, he said, is 'being compassionate with each and every individual. Then, they allow you to help them.'
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

Meridith Berry and her team learned a valuable lesson at an event where they were encouraging Hispanics to purchase coverage through the health insurance marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act: don’t use green card stock.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
2:57 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Suit Seeks To Force Feds To Disclose Missouri Health Insurance Rates

A Missouri consumers group has sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over its alleged failure to disclose health insurance rates insurers propose to charge in Missouri in 2015.  

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in St. Louis by the Consumers Council of Missouri, comes just six weeks before the enrollment period for coverage under the Affordable Care Act begins on Nov. 15.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
4:02 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Health Care Compact Defended By 23 Kansas Legislators

A total of 23 Johnson County legislators — all Republicans — signed onto an op-ed in the October edition of The Best Times, a magazine for seniors in the county, that praises the health care compact bill.

The rebuttal comes after a weeks-long disagreement between legislators who supported the compact and members of the Johnson County Commission on Aging, who wrote an article that appears on the previous page criticizing the compact for its potential effects on Medicare.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
5:18 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Fed Report: More Insurers To Sell Obamacare Plans In Missouri and Kansas In 2015

Consumers in Missouri and Kansas should see more companies offering coverage through the health insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act, according to preliminary estimates released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
11:07 am
Thu September 18, 2014

700 Kansans, 1,700 Missourians To Lose Health Coverage Over Immigration Questions

This map shows the number of people expected to lose health insurance puchased through the exchanges because of citizenship or immigration expirations. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Discrepancies in immigration status data will cause about 700 Kansans who enrolled in health insurance plans through the online federal marketplace to lose their coverage at the end of the month.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said earlier this month they were attempting to contact some 1,800 Kansans whose immigration status was in question because of data differences in their online applications.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
6:14 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Kansas, Missouri Groups Get Grants To Help With ACA Sign-ups

The Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved will get a $468,000 federal grant to lead the state's efforts again to get residents signed up for health insurance on the online insurance exchanges.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday announced $60 million in "navigator" grants to 90 organizations nationwide, including KAMU.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
3:22 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Health Insurance Marketplace Seeks Citizenship Confirmation From 1,800 Kansans

Federal officials are sending notices to more than 300,000 people — including about 1,800 Kansans — warning them that the health insurance plans they bought on the federal online marketplace will be revoked unless they provide documents that resolve "data inconsistencies" with their citizenship or immigration status.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
3:26 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Survey Showing Spike In Kansas’ Uninsured Rate Questioned

Remember that headline-grabbing report last week that said Kansas was the only state in the nation to see a significant increase in its uninsured rate?

Well, it’s looking more and more suspect.

Some officials were immediately skeptical when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey results were released, showing that the adult uninsured rate in Kansas had increased by 5.1 percentage points, jumping from 12.5 percent in 2013 to 17.6 percent by mid-year 2014.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
11:32 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Poll: Kansas Uninsured Rate Goes Up By 40 Percent

Credit Bigstock

Kansas was one of just three states that saw their rates of people without health insurance go up since last year, according to a new survey.

And, if the poll results are accurate, Kansas was the one whose rates went up the most.

The data, collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, show that the uninsured population in Kansas rose from 12.5 percent in 2013 to 17.6 percent by midyear 2014 — a whopping increase of 5.1 percentage points.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
3:41 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Obamacare Fuels Campaign To Unseat Kansas House GOP Moderates

The Affordable Care Act once again is a factor in Kansas legislative races. Some conservative groups are using the federal health reform law to target several moderate House Republicans running for re-election against conservative challengers.
Credit KHI News Service Photo


The same groups that used the wedge issue of Obamacare to unseat moderate Republican senators two years ago are targeting several House members for defeat in Tuesday’s GOP primary.

Read more
3:46 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Primer On GOP Candidates For Kansas Insurance Commissioner

The four Republican candidates for Kansas insurance commissioner all oppose Obamacare.
Credit Courtesy photos / art from KCUR

Five candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for Kansas insurance commissioner, an office that regulates insurance companies, examines them for financial solvency, ensures compliance with insurance regulations, licenses insurance agents, and educates and assists consumers. The primary winner on Aug. 5 will face off in the fall against the lone Democrat in the race, Dennis Anderson. The winner in November will succeed Sandy Praeger, who was elected in 2003 and is stepping down.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
12:01 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Health Insurance Enrollees In Missouri, Kansas To Get More Than $18 Million In Rebates

Health insurance policyholders in Missouri will receive $14.6 million in rebates from health insurers under a provision of the Affordable Care Act known as the Medical Loss Ratio rule. Kansas policyholders will receive $3.6 million.

The Medical Loss Ratio rule requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on medical care and quality improvement, as opposed to administrative costs like salaries and marketing.

Insurers that don't meet that benchmark have to refund the difference to customers.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
3:41 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Ruling Could Make Health Insurance Unaffordable For Thousands Of Kansas, Missouri Consumers

Thousands of Missourians and Kansans could lose their health insurance subsidies if a federal appeals court ruling is allowed to stand.
Credit David Goehring / Flickr -- Creative Commons


Conflicting federal court rulings are raising questions about whether consumers in Kansas and Missouri will continue to be eligible for subsidies when purchasing private health insurance through the federal insurance exchange.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said Tuesday that only consumers purchasing coverage through state-operated marketplaces are eligible for federal tax credits.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
8:57 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Surprise Halt To Kansas Health Homes Program Dismays Medicaid Providers

Kansas Medicaid providers with expansion plans ready to go after spending months and thousands of dollars preparing for the state’s new health homes initiative said they were “shocked” and “disappointed” that state officials abruptly chose to indefinitely delay much of the program’s implementation while giving the providers less than 24 hours' notice of the state’s decision to hit the pause button.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
5:16 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

FAQ: High Court's Hobby Lobby Ruling Cuts Into Contraceptive Mandate

Kaiser Health News

In a 5-4 decision Monday, the Supreme Court allowed a key exemption to the health law’s contraception coverage requirements when it ruled that closely held, for-profit businesses could assert a religious objection to the Obama administration’s regulations. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the case.

Q: What did the court’s ruling do?

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
11:46 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Survey: Most Buying On Insurance Exchanges Weren’t Previously Covered

Kaiser Health News 

Read more