Obamacare

It’s the last week to sign up for health plans under the Affordable Care Act—the deadline is Monday, March 31. As people continue to wade through the confusion surrounding the law, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced it will offer some wiggle room on the deadline.

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Small businesses around Ohio are struggling to sort out the details of the Affordable Care Act, and it’s unclear whether recent delays in the law help or hurt the confusion.

The big Obamacare question for small employers is this: “Am I required to provide health insurance to my employees, or not?”

Caresource
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Today is the last day to sign up for Affordable Care Act insurance if you want it to kick in by January 1, 2014, and while Healthcare.gov has gotten much easier to use, Ohio is still far short of its enrollment goals.

When WYSO talked to Maxine Johnson last month, she had tried six times to sign up for Obamacare. She finally got a plan after major fixes to the website went through in December.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

 The Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services reports uninsured people in the Dayton area are starting to take advantage of the newly expanded eligibility for Medicaid.

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Federally-funded Medicaid expansion is projected to save the state over $400 million. Now, lawmakers and other groups are pitching their ideas for how to use that money. There's not a lot of agreement on what to do with the savings. Emily McCord speaks to Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles about the different options on the table.

Southwest Ohio businesses have a new health care option on the table: so-called “self-insurance” allows companies to cut out the middle man.

The South Metro Regional Chamber of Commerce in Miamisburg has signed up to give its members access to a national self-insurance pool with hundreds of other businesses, which chamber director Julia Maxton says can save them money.

“It’s very clean, it’s very clear,” Maxton said. “It is something that they can understand.”

The Ohio Controlling Board approved funding to expand Medicaid in a 5-2 vote Monday afternoon.

That means beginning this January, over 300,000 Ohioans could become newly eligible for the state-run health insurance program, and around 275,000 are expected to get covered in 2014. The expansion extends state Medicaid programs to cover all adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or a little less than $16,000 for an individual.

Antwaun Brown is currently uninsured, and doesn't know yet whether he'll be able to get covered by the ACA. medicaid insurance health
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Governor John Kasich will bring a Medicaid expansion proposal to the Ohio Controlling Board Monday. He’s gone around the Republican-run legislature in an attempt to approve billions in funds from the federal Affordable Care Act, and health coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income people hangs in the balance.

When Amy Sylvester shows up at her appointment at Five Rivers Health Center in Dayton, she’s been up all night, because she works a 2am shift delivering papers.

Ohio Governor John Kasich announced last week he’ll circumvent the legislature to try to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, state legislators are considering two separate Medicaid reform bills—and health care providers have their fingers crossed.

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  Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10th) has voted with the majority of other House Republicans in favor of a 2014 budget that would defund the Affordable Care Act. Republican congressmen pushed for the bill with the knowledge the Senate and the President would reject it, and in the final days of the fiscal year, the controversy devolved into a showdown, and finally to a partial shutdown of the federal government for the first time in 17 years. As of Thursday, Oct. 3, that shutdown was still underway with no end in sight.

WYSO spoke to Rep. Turner Thursday morning.

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