Affordable Care Act

Two Ob/GYN doctors review test results.
Mercy Health

Health workers who target low-income communities across the state are working to make sure their clients know they can receive health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Rebecca Whitaker is with the North Carolina Community Health Center Association. Community Health Centers are neighborhood practices in what are known as medically underserved areas. She says health care workers have been pairing up with organizations from utilities to elder care agencies who employ uninsured caregivers to get the word out.

a pharmicist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

At least two private health insurance exchanges will soon be launching in North Carolina. 

The NC Chamber and a company called Digital Benefit Advisors are opening websites next month that will act as private marketplaces for health insurance.  Leaders for both organizations say they're designed for employees of companies that might be scaling back their insurance policies.

North Carolina Chamber COO Jim Simpson says the idea is to encourage competition and decrease the cost of insurance.

http://www.house.gov/content/cao/io/images/house_floor.jpg

  Congress failed to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown last night.

Republican lawmakers refused to consider legislation to fund the government unless Democrats were willing to concede on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The impasse means furloughs for many federal workers while the Affordable Care Act enrollment continues as planned.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Obama_signs_health_care-20100323.jpg

  

You probably know it as Obamacare, but its official name is the Affordable Care Act. And starting Tuesday, enrollment opens for mandatory insurance.

New policies don’t actually go into effect until January 1, but in the meantime, curious shoppers can take to the health exchanges to find a deal on health insurance.

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.
Flickr.com

North Carolina is asking local health departments to work with people hired to give information about the Affordable Care Act. 

The Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to every county last week, encouraging them to work with so-called health care navigators.  The federal government gave out about $3 million in grants to non-profits, hospitals and volunteers to hire navigators last month.

Two Ob/GYN doctors review test results.
Mercy Health

Medicare patients who are frequently admitted to hospitals are beginning to cause extra fees for those facilities. 

The White House

The state Department of Insurance has approved subsidized health care plans that will be available under the Affordable Care Act.

Several details of the plans remain sealed as trade secrets, including rates, deductibles and how many were approved.  Marni Schribman of the state Insurance Department says the plans will be part of North Carolina's health care exchange, which is scheduled to launch in October.

Warren County Free Clinic Sign
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina has one of the best networks of free clinics in the country.  Support from funders like the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation has helped take care of some of the state’s neediest patients; those who don’t qualify for Medicare of Medicaid.  Warren County – northeast of Raleigh – is home to one of the busiest free clinics in North Carolina.  But funding cuts have resulted in less service at a crucial time in the nation’s health care fight.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt

State lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that would block an expansion of North Carolina's Medicaid program. It passed on third reading Thursday. Republican lawmakers are opposed to enlarging Medicaid to help cover about 500,000 uninsured residents under the Affordable Care Act. Representative John Blust says the state would end up covering too many costs.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

A state House committee has moved along a bill that would block any state-funded expansion of Medicaid.  The Health and Human services Committee voted to follow Governor Pat McCrory's lead saying that Medicaid should not grow to cover about half-a million uninsured residents.  States can expand Medicaid to help cover the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act..but they can also opt out of that expansion.   Governor McCrory said the program's budget is tight in a speech at the Emerging Issues Forum at N-C State yesterday.

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