Access To Care

As Americans begin shopping again for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act on Saturday, they'll be wrestling with premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs and other vague and confusing insurance-speak.

Believe it or not, that's the easy part compared with figuring out what health care actually costs.

Sal Morales of Miami bought insurance in March during the ACA's first enrollment period on the HealthCare.gov website.

It's being challenged in the Supreme Court. Members of the new Republican Congress want to repeal it. But Obamacare will get a second chance on Saturday, when enrollment opens again in the government-sponsored health exchanges.

The Obama administration is expecting over 3 million new enrollees and almost 6 million return customers. And while the system faces some challenges, the government says it's up to the task.

Tomorrow it begins again – open enrollment for Obamacare. Two very successful state health insurance exchanges, Connecticut's and California's, are both intent on reaching people who avoided signing up last year – especially young Latinos and African-Americans.

Jeffrey Craig Hopper is a probate attorney and Little League coach in Austin, Texas, so he knows all about following the rules. Still, accidents happen. Last June on the Little League field, an errant baseball smashed into his face.

His wife, Jennifer, remembers rushing to the field.

"His eye was swollen shut enough that we weren't sure if he could see," she says.

House Speaker John Boehner said approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline and the repeal of key parts of Obamacare are among Republicans' top priorities now that the GOP has won control of both houses of Congress.

"Obamacare is hurting our economy, it's hurting middle-class workers, and it's hurting the ability to create more jobs," Boehner said, adding that Republicans want to replace it with "common-sense reforms."

Uninsured Patients In Texas Turn To Walmart

Oct 23, 2014

Nearly 800,000 Texans are getting health insurance for the first time under the Affordable Care Act, but more than 6 million more are uninsured and looking for other options. Many of them are turning to places they say are both affordable and convenient — places like Walmart.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Veronica Zaragovia of KUT in Austin reports on how that’s going.

The number of men getting vasectomies spiked during the Great Recession, rising one-third from 2006 to 2010, a study finds.

In 2006, 3.9 percent of men said they had had a vasectomy; in 2010, 4.4 percent reported having the surgery. That means an additional 150,000 to 180,000 men per year had vasectomies in each year of the recession.

Fall is enrollment season for many people who get insurance through their workplace. Premium increases for 2015 plans are expected to be modest on average, but the shift toward higher out-of-pocket costs overall for consumers will continue as employers try to keep a lid on their costs and incorporate health law changes.

The Affordable Care Act requires that most health plans offer birth control to women.

Around the country, Catholic employers have been arguing in court that having anything to do with insurance coverage of contraceptives violates their freedom of religion.

But when the insurance companies themselves are Catholic, contraceptive coverage comes without a hitch.

Here's a health law pop quiz: Which two states have the least successful Obamacare exchanges?

You might guess a state in the Deep South where political opposition to the health law has been fierce. Or maybe you'd say Missouri. It passed a state law saying consumer advisers funded by the Affordable Care Act aren't allowed to give advice about plans to consumers.

But those answers would be wrong.

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