ACA

The old saying goes, "Nothing is certain except death and taxes." But the Affordable Care Act has added a new wrinkle.

For many policyholders, the ACA has introduced a good deal of uncertainty about their tax bills. That has led to surprise refunds for some and higher-than-expected tax payments for others.

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An estimated 16.4 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released Monday by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Richard Frank, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, said the drop in the uninsured rate is primarily driven by the Affordable Care Act.

Adrian Clark / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

The uninsured rate has dropped 4.2 percentage points since the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for Americans to have health insurance went into effect last year, according to a Gallup-Healthways Well Being analysis.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate dropped to 12.9 percent. This is the lowest recorded rate since Gallup-Healthways began tracking the measure daily in 2008.

Kentucky’s Second District Congressman is predicting a major “re-write” of the Affordable Care Act next year.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie would have an up-close view of such an effort, as he was named vice-chair of a key House Health Subcommittee Wednesday.

Guthrie says the complicated structure of the federal health law makes it difficult to change certain aspects of the A.C.A without creating unintended consequences elsewhere.

“You hear a lot of people say, ‘let’s keep what we like and fix what we don’t like.’ And there are things that we need as part of our system. We need to make sure that people have health care if they’re sick, and pre-existing conditions don’t push them out of the marketplace.”

But the Bowling Green Republican said adding so many additional Americans to the healthcare system made it impossible for President Obama to keep his pledge that everyone could keep the doctor and health plan that they wanted.

The Congressman also expressed concern about states—like Kentucky—that expanded their Medicaid rolls as part of Obamacare.

Closing what many see as a loophole that could trap millions of people in substandard insurance, the Obama administration said Tuesday that large-employer medical plans lacking hospital coverage will not qualify under the Affordable Care Act's toughest standard. It also offered relief to workers who may be enrolled in those plans next year.

Medi-Share (http://blog.medi-share.org)

Kentucky’s health benefits exchange kynect is extending its enrollment period due to high demand during the initial March 31 deadline.

The extension for applications begins today and ends April 11. Kentuckians who completed their applications by the initial deadline can select a plan through April 15, with coverage beginning May 1.

LRC Public Information

Provisions to block state money from being used on Kentucky's implementation of the Affordable Care Act will remain in the budget agreement reached over the weekend by state lawmakers. Sparring between House Democrats and Senate Republicans over the ACA dominated negotiations.

The ACA covers the costs of implementation through 2017, after which the tab will be split with the state.

Now, Senate President Robert Stivers says lawmakers will send the governor a budget that blocks general funds from going toward the state's health insurance exchange, Kynect, and the expansion of Medicaid. Stivers acknowledges that much of the heated debate over the ACA was "political theater."

While the number of people in Tennessee buying health insurance through new exchanges has been slow, state officials say the number of people being directed to the state's expanded Medicaid program is more than they expected.

So far, about 1,000 people have purchased health insurance throughout the state.

ky.gov

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has directed the Kentucky Department of Insurance to comply with President Barack Obama's directive yesterday that could allow some 280,000 Kentuckians to keep their current insurance policies, at least for another year.

Beshear says the decision ultimately will be left to insurance companies, many of which have already invested much time and money into developing coverage plans that meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

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Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway are warning consumers to beware of scam artists who might try to dupe them on websites mimicking those where people can sign up for insurance policies.

Consumers have alerted state officials to suspicious websites they believe are being operated by scammers.

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