affordable care act

During the last two elections New York and Pennsylvania Republicans campaigned on repealing and replacing so-called Obamacare – but House Republicans have yet to vote on a replacement plan.

Remember “repeal and replace”? It’s the campaign slogan that helped Republicans gain control of the House in 2010 and keep that majority in 2012. House leaders have done what they can to repeal the law – the GOP has cast more than 40 votes to scrap or defund all or part of the Affordable Care Act. But where’s the replacement?

ACR Health in Syracuse is getting a lot of calls from people who signed up for healthcare through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, and are worried their health insurance costs are rising. But the experts who signed hundreds of people up for insurance in central New York say not to worry.

March 31 was the busiest day for New York's new health insurance marketplace. It was also the final day of the six month open enrollment period.

Almost 470,000 people visited the site and 39,000 signed up on that last day, according to the state's exchange, to bring the total to 926,000 enrolled.

Those newly covered signed up for a combination of the expanded federal Medicaid program, Child Health Plus, or a private provider.

The exchange is crediting its early success in enrollment with a functioning website, something the federal exchange was plagued with.

While touring a firefighter station in the Southern Tier town of Vestal recently, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) touted legislation that would exempt volunteer firefighters from the Affordable Care Act. The announcement comes a month after the U.S. Treasury Department already made the change.

Originally, the ACA counted volunteer firefighters as full-time employees. That would have made the Vestal fire stations and others around the country responsible to provide healthcare if they had more the 50 employees.

There's only a week left in the enrollment period for people to sign up to get health care through the Affordable Care Act. But there’s been a steady flow of central New Yorkers signing up for insurance policies through the New York exchanges in advance of that deadline.

ACR Health in Syracuse has been helping people in a nine-county area sign on to plans. Community Health Director Steve Wood says things have been going well so far, with 3,500 people covered by health insurance who weren’t before.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Cortland County has started a "Countdown to Coverage," to try and get the word out about the next major deadline for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

According to Lindy Glennon of the Cortland County Community Action Program, the next important date in the Affordable Care Act timeline is March 31, which is a little over three weeks away. March 31 is the last day to enroll in health coverage through the New York State of Health marketplace, without facing penalties.

People who are finding it difficult to pay for a health insurance policy offered through New York sate’s health care exchanges, may find a more affordable plan, if a proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget goes through.

The governor’s proposed spending plan would allow New York to offer what’s called a "basic health care plan," according to Mary Clark, regional director of Citizen Action League of New York.

“That would really opens the doors to provide coverage at extremely low cost to families at 200 percent of poverty,” she said.

There are less than two months left for people to sign on to a health insurance plan and avoid tax penalties for not having insurance in 2014.  

Steve Wood, community health coordinator of the ACR Health Syracuse office, said they are continuing outreach in nine counties in central New York, encouraging people to get help from specially trained navigators who can help with the process.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Today is the deadline for individuals to sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act in order to get coverage by Jan. 1. So far, New York state’s experience with this groundbreaking change in the way Americans get health care coverage has been generally positive.

Todd Muscatello is a Vice President for Sales at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Syracuse. As someone who deals in the vagaries of health insurance every day, he says he's glad he lives in New York state.  

As the deadline for health insurance plan applications approaches, one agency that’s offering individuals help with the process is finding itself very busy. ACR Health in Syracuse has exceeded expectations as far as signing people up in the state healthcare exchanges.

According to navigator Brian Vanbenschoten, ACR has already helped more than 1,100 people sign up for health insurance plans that will go into effect Jan. 1. That’s 300 more than the agency anticipated at this time.

There are only five days left for individuals to enroll in new health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, if they want that coverage to begin Jan. 1. But central New York insurers are urging people to avoid waiting until the last minute.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

Sen. Charles Schumer says he is glad President Barack Obama is keeping his promise to Americans by allowing them to keep insurance plans that would have been canceled for an extra year. The president announced yesterday that even if insurances plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act, policyholders are now able to keep those plans through 2014.

There’s less than a month until the Dec. 7 deadline, when Medicare’s open enrollment period ends.

Blaine Longnecker, a sales consultant out of Syracuse’s Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield office, said seniors eligible for the federal health insurance program who are looking to change their plan shouldn't bide their time.

There may be problems in other states for people signing up for health care under the Affordable Care Act, but things are moving smoothly in New York state, according to one organization in the midst of it. ACR Health in Syracuse says it has nothing but success stories.

Amid ongoing problems with the federal health insurance exchange website, New York is one of a handful of states where residents can successfully enroll through the state's health insurance marketplace, according to state officials.

Elisabeth Benjamin, a New York state health navigator, said the site did have some glitches in the first two weeks, but said now she is thrilled with the exchange's success so far.  

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One of the key points of contention in the Affordable Care Act is the medical devices tax. Republicans want the 2.3 percent tax designed to help fund health care reform removed.

The medical device industry has also lobbied extensively to have the tax repealed, claiming it will stifle innovation and result in job losses.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The health exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act opened Tuesday, and in short order there were two million hits on the New York state website that's selling health insurance policies. People who weren't turning to the website in central New York were lining up to get face-to-face information on how to choose a plan.

Willie Terrell, of Syracuse, has been waiting for this day since he lost his health insurance a year ago.

How will the Affordable Care Act affect you?

Oct 1, 2013

The federal health law's individual marketplaces have started. In New York nearly all Americans will be required to have health insurance starting January 1, 2014, or else they will be liable for a tax penalty. There is considerable confusion about the law. Some people aren't sure if they qualify and they have no clear idea of how much insurance might cost. 

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

New York State of Health, the marketplace exchange that will let New Yorkers choose health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is open for business starting Tuesday. The state has plenty of help available for anyone who's taking the jump into these historic waters.

New York is one of the states that will be offering insurance for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through state health exchanges. What is arguably the landmark feature of the law also known as Obamacare, the registration springs into action tomorrow when New Yorkers can begin shopping and buying health plans through a marketplace called New York State of Health. Implementation of the plan has had its bumps and bruises, but New York is ready to go, even if lingering concerns in certain sectors remain.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said threats in Congress to defund Obamacare won’t have any effect on the federal Affordable Health Care Act going forward in New York.

Cuomo said even if Congress is gridlocked over funding for the federal health care act, New York will still be going ahead on Oct. 1 with the required health care exchanges.

 “The health exchange is up and running,” Cuomo said on a trip to Niagara Falls. “I don’t believe there’s going to be any effect on the state.”

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

In less than two weeks, the health exchanges that are an integral part of the Affordable Care Act will go into business in New York state, but officials are already starting to hear from residents who want to know how this will affect their health care.

Maffei discusses range of topics at town hall

Sep 17, 2013
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

About sixty people came to Onondaga Community College Monday night for Rep. Dan Maffei's town hall meeting. Constituents asked about the Democrat from Syracuse Democrat everything from the economy to health care.  

Federal spending on infrastructure was one of the economic topics discussed. While Maffei says there is no partisan divide in central New York when it comes to investing in infrastructure, but he said he doesn't expect any bill on it to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in the near future.  

Some rights reserved by 401 (K) 2013

As delays pile up in the implementation of components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded $150 million to the nation’s health care centers as part of an outreach and enrollment program for patients with low incomes.

The grants will help centers provide advice regarding the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, and how it will affect people’s current health coverage as well as those who are currently uninsured.

How New Yorkers will fare under the Affordable Care Act

Jul 12, 2013

The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, is one of the largest government programs begun in recent years. Along with that size, has come a lot of confusion about how it will effect medical services. As part of a series of community forums on health care, WRVO recently brought together a panel of experts to discuss how government spending affects health care in upstate New York.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Join us for the first in a series of community forums on health care.

The agency that has helped victims of HIV/AIDS for the past 30 years in central New York will soon be taking on a new responsibility. AIDS Community Resources will be a foot soldier in a revamped Medicaid system in New York state.

In the next month or so, ARC will begin offering case management services for Medicaid eligible individuals who don't necessarily have AIDS, but who have any chronic health issue.

It'll mean a name change for AIDS Community Resources, but more importantly, Executive Director Michael Crinnen says it will allow the agency do what it does best -- coordinate care for sufferers of a chronic disease, and hopefully keeping them out of the emergency room.

In a little more than six months, the Affordable Care Act will change the lay of the land for healthcare in this country. For hospitals, it continues changes that started a decade ago, says Richard Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association, who was in Syracuse Monday.

Stickley, Audi and Co. could be a poster child for workplace wellness. The 900 employees at the Manlius furniture making company lost a collective 2,600 pounds during its last round of a Biggest Loser contest, inspired by the popular TV show.

Some of the larger hospitals in New York state are worried about one aspect of the Affordable Care Act: academic medical centers are slated to lose millions of dollars in a particular kind of Medicaid payment over the next few years.

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