Affordable Care Act

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

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

Kaiser Health News 

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Heartland Health Monitor
11:16 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Obamacare Enrollees In Missouri And Kansas Pay Less Than $100 A Month With Tax Credits

A new report analyzing health plan enrollment through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace shows that most people who signed up — about 70 percent — are paying less than $100 a month for coverage after their advance tax credits are accounted for and nearly half those who enrolled are paying less than $50 per month.

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:15 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Some Kansans Still Signing Up For Health Coverage Through The Marketplace

In this KHI News Service file photo, Julie Konig, right, a certified application counselor with the Shawnee County Health Agency, talks with a woman seeking insurance through the Obamacare marketplace. People who have had certain "life-changing" events can still enroll in health coverage and need not wait until the 2015 open enrollment period begins on Nov. 15.
Credit Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

More than 57,000 Kansans signed up for health insurance through the federal exchange before the March 31 deadline.

“That was 19.1 percent of all those who were eligible,” said Katrina McGivern, communications coordinator for the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, one of the Kansas groups given federal grant dollars to help get people enrolled.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:34 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Health Enrollments Through Federal Exchange Double In Missouri And Kansas

Federal health exchange enrollments more than doubled in Missouri and nearly doubled in Kansas in the weeks leading up to the enrollment deadline, according to figures released by the government Thursday. 

In Missouri, enrollment through the federal marketplace shot up to 152,335 - a 105 percent increase over the number who selected a health plan by the end of February. In Kansas, enrollment increased to 57,013 - a 95 percent jump over February.

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7:44 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Gov. Brownback Signs Controversial Health Care Compact Bill

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill that might make it possible for Kansas to join a compact of states that want the power to run Medicare and Medicaid within their borders.

The new law also creates the possibility that the compact states could circumvent several key provisions in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“The Health Care Compact will allow states to restore and protect Medicare for generations to come,” Brownback said in a prepared statement today announcing that he had signed the measure. The actual signing was Tuesday.

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11:34 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Brownback Signs Bill In Attempt To Distance Kansas From Affordable Care Act

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill Wednesday morning that will join the state with others attempting to sever ties with the federal Affordable Care Act legislation.

With the approval of House Bill 2553, Kansas joins the Health Care Compact, a coalition of states seeking exemption from federal health care rules, while retaining federal health funding. The Compact will need to be approved by the U.S. Legislature.

Brownback stated the Compact would allow states to preserve Medicare.

12:15 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Report: Medicaid Expansion Would Boost Kansas Economy

A new report from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth concludes that Medicaid expansion would be a boon to the state's economy and be particularly helpful in rural areas where higher percentages of workers lack good health coverage.

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8:23 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Brownback Urged To Veto Health Compact Bill

Gov. Sam Brownback would be taking a political risk by signing a bill that could eventually give state officials control of Medicare and other federal health care programs, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said Tuesday.

Praeger, a Republican in the final year of her third and final term, said because the bill could “jeopardize” the benefits of the nearly 450,000 Kansans enrolled in Medicare signing it could alienate senior voters.

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7:58 am
Wed April 2, 2014

After ACA Deadline, Still No Break For Kansas City Health Navigators

The deadline for open enrollment in Affordable Care Act insurance has passed, but enrollment helpers in the Kansas City area won’t get a vacation just yet.

During Monday’s website problems, insurance navigators and counselors were asking enrollees to come back – either later in the week or next week – after the enrollment deadline.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

What The Affordable Care Act Means For Kansas City Artists

The deadline to sign up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act was March 31. By law, all U.S. citizens must have some form of insurance or face a tax penalty for the year.

But does the law help people, like artists, who have been  unable or unwilling to buy health insurance in previous markets?

On Central Standard, host Gina Kaufmann spoke with some Kansas City artists about the Affordable Care Act and whether it complicated or improved their health insurance status.

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