Affordable Care Act

Health
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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Health
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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Health
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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Elections
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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Health
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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Health
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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Health
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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Health
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.

Health
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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Health
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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Health
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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Health
3:59 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

ACA Final Enrollment Glitches Don't Faze Kansas City Navigators

Application Counselors Lauren Paul, Molly Moffett and Leigh Loving wait for healthcare.gov website to function at Wyandotte County Health Department.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The healthcare.gov website was stalled for several hours in the final day of open enrollment for Affordable Care Act insurance.

But with the deadline extended for many, those involved in enrollment in Kansas City, Kan., shrugged off the glitches.

Enroll Wyandotte at the Wyandotte County Health Department signed up 30 to 40 people for insurance in the past week, compared to a slow trickle in the first few months of the year.

The Department of Health and Human Services says that the nationwide crush of visitors and a software bug caused website problems Monday.

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Health
6:00 am
Thu March 27, 2014

KC Checkup: Five Questions For Sandy Praeger

Sandy Praeger, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance, in her office in Topeka, Kan.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The Affordable Care Act has put Sandy Praeger at odds with most of her fellow Republicans in Topeka, Kan.

The Kansas Commissioner of Insurance shared the frustration many had over the health exchange website problems, and she’s voiced concern over how shifting rules and delays impact the insurance industry.

But Praeger has remained a supporter of federal health reform, a proponent of Medicaid expansion, and a critic of Gov. Sam Brownback’s approach to health policy.

She answered five questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup:

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Kansas Statehouse
7:47 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Kansas House Passes Bill To Join Effort To Take Control Of ACA Money

The Kansas House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would allow Kansas to join several other states in an effort to wrest control of health care programs from the federal government.

The Interstate Health Care Compact is in large part a reaction to the Affordable Care Act. The main sponsor of the legislation in the House is Republican Rep. Brett Hildabrand.

“Many of our constituents are looking for any way possible to get out from under the Affordable Care Act, and this is one method for doing that," said Hildabrand.

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Health
5:50 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Opponents Speak Against Kansas Bill To Restrict Healthcare Navigators

Opponents of a bill creating new restrictions for Obamacare navigators showed up in force today for a hearing on the bill in a House committee.

They said Senate Bill 362 would needlessly impeded the navigators' work while ostensibly addressing consumer protection problems that don’t exist.

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Up To Date
2:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill On Sexual Assault In The Military, Affordable Care Act

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill visits Kansas City on Wednesday and Thursday as part of her 'McCaskill on Main Street' tour.  

She’s fresh off a big legislative win in the Senate where her version of a bill dealing with sexual assault in the military won out over a competing measure.

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Sen. McCaskill about sexual assault in the military and her opinions on progress made as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Guest:

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Health
3:47 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Kansas City Consumers, Advocates Rushing Toward Health Reform Deadline

Renan Raven (left, center), a marketing specialist with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, provided answers about health insurance at a Saturday health fair in Kansas City, Kan. Raven is bilingual, and he was in high demand from the large number of Hispanics who attended the fair.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism

As an uninsured agriculture worker, Salvador Lopez said he’d welcome health coverage so he could afford diabetes medication.

Health insurance would also help his wife, said the Excelsior Springs, Mo., resident. Not feeling well on Saturday, she actually had her blood pressure checked at the health fair the couple attended with their two daughters in Kansas City, Kan.

But organizers said the main point of the two-day fair was to enroll people for health insurance through the new marketplace established through the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
4:05 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Health Exchange Enrollment Slowing In Kansas, Missouri

Federal health exchange in enrollment is slowing, according to data released Tuesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 29,309 in Kansas and 74,469 in Missouri selected insurance plans by the end of February. That is up 31 percent in Kansas and 38 percent in Missouri from the previous report, a slow-down compared with an increase of about 60 percent in both states during January.

In a conference call, Julie Bataille of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services brushed aside concerns about slowing momentum.

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Health
4:45 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Kansas Will Allow Extension Of Non-ACA-Compliant Insurance

Kansas insurers will be allowed to renew for an additional year health insurance policies that do not comply with Affordable Care Act requirements.

The Kansas Insurance Department announced Thursday that it would accept the Obama administration’s offer for states to extend policies that do not comply with new federal health insurance requirements.

The offer came as part of new Affordable Care Act regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday.

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Up To Date
4:19 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Healthcare Foundation Announces Efforts To Enroll More In Obamacare

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited Kansas City Monday morning, drumming up interest in Obamacare.

In the first segment of Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with the head of Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City about insurance available through the Affordable Care Act and ongoing efforts to connect people to it.

Guest:

  • Dr. Bridget McCandless, president and CEO, Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City
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Health
3:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Sebelius Pushes Health Exchanges, Medicaid Expansion In Kansas City

Sly James, mayor of Kansas City, Mo., introduces Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged the uninsured to enroll on the federal health exchange at a press conference in Kansas City, Mo., on Monday.

At the Full Employment Council near 18th and Vine streets, Sebelius touted the benefits of the health exchange for both the uninsured and for the Kansas City metropolitan area.

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Health
7:39 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Kansas City Physicians Take The Accountable Care Approach

Clay Platte Family Medicine Clinic physician Scott Kuennen examines Medicare patient Alma Bradbury.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Changes to insurance have been getting all the headlines, but the Affordable Care Act aims to change the way doctors operate as well.

The federal law offers incentives for health providers to work together to keep Medicare patients healthy in hopes of saving money. Whether this approach can actually create savings is still unclear, and many doctors remain skeptical. But in Kansas City, a few doctors are teaming up.

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Health
8:28 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Moran Worries ACA Will Cut Care In Rural Kansas

Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran says his biggest worry about the Affordable Care Act is that it may ultimately lead to medical care being less available in rural communities.

Moran made the comment during a town hall meeting Thursday in Salina.

Moran was responding to a question about the requirement that women’s reproductive services, including contraceptives, be included in all health insurance plans sold on the exchanges.

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Health
10:23 am
Fri December 20, 2013

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Talks Obamacare

In a phone conversation on Thursday afternoon, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discussed some of the current issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius has faced criticism over the health exchange rollout, canceled insurance policies and abortion coverage. Some of her strongest critics hail from Kansas, the state where Sebelius twice served as governor. 

Insurance shoppers will need to register on the marketplaces by Monday, Dec. 23 to get coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2014. Open enrollment will continue until March 31.

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Health
6:58 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Obamacare Enrollment Slow In Kansas

To date, about 4000 people in Missouri, and nearly 2000 in Kansas have completed enrollment and selected a healthcare plan through healthcare.gov.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported the numbers Wednesday. Overall, about 365,000 Americans had picked a health insurance plan through the federal website as of Nov. 30.

There was a rocky rollout in October. But, site access has reportedly improved and enrollments have  increased. 

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Health
9:46 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Obamacare Rates And Subsidies Vary Widely Within Missouri

Rates for insurance plans purchased through the healthcare.gov website vary widely in Missouri, and to a lesser extent in Kansas.
Credit healthcare.gov

Now that healthcare.gov has undergone some major tweaks, supporters of the Affordable Care Act hope that a lot more people will go online and compare insurance rates. But what might surprise shoppers is how rates and subsidies vary depending on their address.

In Missouri, insurance buyers in different parts of the Show-Me State are seeing some of the most extreme cost differences in the country. 

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Health
8:43 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Missouri Lets Insurers Renew Canceled Health Policies

Missouri will allow health insurance companies to continue offering policies that otherwise would have been canceled under the terms of the new federal health care law.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that the state will let insurers sell individual and small-group policies in 2014 that were to be canceled because they didn't meet federal coverage requirements taking effect next year. 

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Health
9:47 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Kansas Seniors Warned About Medicare Scams

The open enrollment period for Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans got underway Monday.  The Kansas Insurance Department says people need to be alert for potential scams.

The concern is heightened this year because the Medicare signup period coincides with the opening of the insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

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Health
9:29 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Obamacare Sign-up Starts, But Questions Linger

The wait for one of the biggest pieces of Obamacare is over. Starting Tuesday, Americans who don't have access to affordable health insurance through their employers can shop for coverage in new online marketplaces, also known as exchanges. The Kansas Insurance Department has been holding meetings across the state to answer questions about the exchange.

Linda Sheppard is the Kansas Insurance Department’s Director of Health Care Policy. She says the state is ready as it can be.

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