Affordable Care Act

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    ASK EMILY: New to Medicare? Drop Covered California fast

    BY EMILY BAZAR CHCF Center for Health Reporting
    Wednesday, Nov 19 2014 02:41 PM

    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 have Medicare. That's the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and those with kidney failure and certain disabilities.

    Medicare open enrollment runs until Dec. 7. From a consumer standpoint, Obamacare doesn't shake up Medicare dramatically. But the two intersect, and sometimes in ways that could crimp your finances. Today, I'll explain what you or your loved ones can do to help you avoid a crash at that intersection.

    Q: I signed up for health insurance through Covered California. I...

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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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    ASK EMILY: Network nightmares: When your doctor and hospital don't mix

    What good is it to have a health plan if you can't find doctors and hospitals to accept it? That question rushes to mind every time a frustrated reader writes in to describe his or her Kafkaesque quest to find care. I'm also hearing from...

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    ASK EMILY: Think you know what your Obamacare plan will cost you? Think again.

    Obamacare's inaugural open-enrollment period is over, and all you enrollees can breathe easy now. Someday I'd like to write that sentence and mean it, but not today. Instead, it's time to take a look at an unwelcome surprise that is...

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    ASK EMILY: As enforcer of Obamacare, the IRS faces limits

    Americans love their tax refunds. I know I do. So why is conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh advising his listeners to avoid them? In a word, Obamacare. "If you structure your taxes so that you do not get a refund, you do not...

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