Affordable Care Act

Recent Stories

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    Health reform in California: A state of accelerating change

    BY DEBORAH SCHOCH AND LAUREN M. WHALEY, CHCF Center for Health Reporting
    Saturday, Dec 13 2014 03:00 PM

    Gail Fulbeck, 64, relies on her body for work. She hauls soda, energy drinks, snacks and water to the 23 vending machines she owns around downtown Sacramento.

    The physical demands of her job, coupled with her husband's history of migraines and bad knees, make health insurance essential.

    Last year, Fulbeck and her husband paid a monthly insurance premium of $2,555. Starting Jan. 1 of this year, the couple's premium for a nearly identical plan totaled $165. It was, she said, almost unbelievable.

    Fulbeck is a standout beneficiary of the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). It slashed her costs with income tax credits, and by setting up a competition for her premiums among insurers through Covered California, the state's new...

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    Health reform proves a mixed bag in Kern

    Margaret Pendley has had chronic pain since the double whammy of a car accident in February and a fall a month later. The restaurant server has been on disability since the accident, and has spent much of this year trying to find a pain...

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    ASK EMILY: It's not easy to check out of Hotel Covered California

    In my previous column, I explained that you become ineligible for Covered California's tax credits when you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare. You will owe money to the government if you keep getting the credits after your Medicare begins....

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    ASK EMILY: New to Medicare? Drop Covered California fast

    It's open-enrollment season again, and I'm not just talking about Covered California. Among those making important health care decisions right now are more than 50 million Americans -- including more than 5 million Californians -- who...

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    ASK EMILY: Open enrollment II: Tips for Obamacare's second year

    I'm a notorious penny-pincher, though I much prefer the term "thrifty." So I have some counterintuitive advice when it comes to picking a Covered California plan: Cheaper isn't always better. I'll explain why below and provide other advice...

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    ASK EMILY: Key efforts to reform health reform

    It has been quite a year. More than 3 million of you signed up for new health coverage in California. But many of you couldn't find doctors who accepted your plans. Some of you were charged hundreds or thousands of dollars for desperately...

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    ASK EMILY: Translations key to keeping coverage

    Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, has taken a lot of heat for its communication -- or lack thereof -- to consumers who don't speak English well. To its credit, the agency has improved in the past year, especially...

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    ASK EMILY: Look Ma, no option! My teeth are covered.

    Like many things in Obamacare, dental insurance is more complicated than it should be. In today's column, I'll try to bring some clarity to the issue and preview coming changes that may affect how often you see a dentist -- and at what...

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    ASK EMILY: More on those rising insurance rates

    I'm sure you've heard that premiums for plans sold through our health insurance exchange, Covered California, will go up an average of 4.2 percent next year. Just remember, "average" means just that. Your premium increase (or decrease in...

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    Exchange health insurance rates rising

    Covered California has released next year's proposed rates for health plans made possible by the Affordable Care Act, and Kern County's are expected to rise an average of 4.5 percent, slightly higher than the 4.2 percent hike statewide....

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    ASK EMILY: Big bills lurk in specialty drug category

    Another in a series of Q&A columns answering consumers' questions about the Affordable Care Act.   It used to be that your health plan's annual out-of-pocket maximum was more like the safety net under a high wire: You sure were glad it...

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    ASK EMILY: Will my Medi-Cal renewal get backlogged, too?

    Let's start with some good news (because everything is relative): The backlog of Medi-Cal applications that I called "monumental" last month is now merely "massive." About 600,000 people -- some of whom applied last year -- are still...

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    ASK EMILY: Months after applying, legions stuck waiting for Medi-Cal

    "One stop shop." "No wrong door." State officials have used those phrases since last year to describe the new, easier, more efficient Medi-Cal application process. But something happened between their mouths and reality: "A hole fell...

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