Tag Archive | "Affordable Care Act Health"

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Fake ACA Websites Target Consumers for Identity Theft


By New America Media

Computer hackers are creating phony Affordable Care Act (ACA) websites and are asking for consumers’ personal information, such as social security and bank account numbers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers to never give out personal information on the Internet before confirming that the website is run by the government.”Since the Affordable Care Act is still new and confusing to some consumers, it is hard for consumers to distinguish reliable versus bogus websites,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It is important to only trust official legitimate government websites.”

Bernas noted that it is tricky to distinguish fake ACA websites from legitimate sites, because in addition to the ACA’s official website, there are legitimate sites run by individual states.

“Over 50 million consumers will be eligible for insurance covered by the Affordable Care Act according to government information,” he said. “With this huge number, scammers see opportunities. Consumers need to be even more careful to protect their personal information.”

The BBB recommends the following these tips to avoid fake Affordable Care Act websites:

* Don’t use a Google search for help. Go to the government’s official website instead, which can lead you to websites owned by individual state governments. The official website is www.healthcare.gov

* Ignore unsolicited phone calls or emails.If a government official calls or emails asking for your information, don’t respond to the email or hang up the phone. The government never solicits consumers for personal information.

* Check for a digital certificate. This is the website’s way of proving it is an official ACA website and won’t steal your personal information.

For more tips and information about scams, visit www.bbb.org 

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Sebelius: CT Residents to Benefit From Rebates


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday announced that 47,593 Connecticut residents will benefit from more than $5 million in rebates from insurance companies this summer, averaging $168 per family.

This is all due to the Affordable Care Act, federal officials said in a press release.

According to the release,  77.8 million American consumers saved $3.4 billion up front on their premiums as insurance companies operated more efficiently.  Additionally, consumers are expected to save $500 million in rebates, with 8.5 million enrollees due to receive an average rebate of around $100 per family.

How did this come about?

Created under the Affordable Care Act, the Medical Loss Ratio standard (also known as the “80/20 rule”) requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care and quality improvement.  If they spend an excessive amount on profits and red tape, they owe rebates back for the difference no later than August 1, 2013.

“This new standard is increasing transparency and accountability, promoting better business practices and competition among insurance companies, and ensuring consumers receive value for their premium dollars,” Sebelius said.  “Today’s announcement shows that more Connecticut residents are benefiting from the tools created under the Affordable Care Act to keep consumer costs down.”

Officials said that other Connecticut residents will see their value reflected through rebates later this summer.

Connecticut residents owed a rebate will see their value reflected in one of the following:

  • a rebate check in the mail
  • a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that they used to pay the premium if by credit card or debit card
  • a reduction in their premiums
  • their employer using rebates to improve their health coverage.

Insurance companies that do not meet the standard will send consumers a notice informing them of the rule  The notice will also let consumers know how much the insurer did or did not spend on patient care or quality improvement, and how much of that difference will be returned as a rebate.

For an overview of insurers’ MLR data in 2012, please visit:  http://www.cms.gov/cciio/Resources/Forms-Reports-and-Other-Resources/index.html#Medical Loss Ratio

For more information on the MLR provision in the Affordable Care Act: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/11/medical-loss-ratio.html

 

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Gov: Connecticut First to Install Obama Health Care Plan


HARTFORD —  Connecticut is the first state in the nation to permanently add low-income adults to its Medicaid program under the new Affordable Care Act Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today. 

“We applaud Connecticut’s speedy action to expand coverage for its lowest-income residents who will now have reliable access to affordable, quality care as a result of the incentives contained in the Affordable Care Act,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Today’s action will bring substantial new federal support to the state and help improve the health of its citizens.”

 Gov. Rell said that with this federal help, the state  will be able to provide increased medical benefits for low income residents through Medicaid “while relieving the burden on state taxpayers.”

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, permits states to receive federal funding for providing Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), or $14,400 for an individual in 2010. Prior to passage of health care reform, states could only cover childless adults by applying for a waiver of Medicaid rules.  These waivers were temporary and states had to meet strict criteria for approval and renewal.  The ACA requires states to cover all low-income individuals in Medicaid starting in 2014, but also allows states to get federal funding to enroll them right away.

  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Connecticut’s state plan amendment on June 21, 2010, making it the first in the nation to take up this new option.  Connecticut estimates that approximately 45,000 adults will become eligible for Medicaid under this health reform expansion.  

Prior to passage of the new health care law, many uninsured adults in Connecticut received coverage through a state-funded program, known as State-Administered General Assistance (SAGA). Connecticut will enroll individuals whose annual income is up to 56 percent of the FPL or $6,650 per year for an individual in 2010.

Medicaid enrollees under this coverage expansion will receive the standard Medicaid benefit package for adults, including:

Inpatient and outpatient hospital services

Physician services

Laboratory services     

Prescription drugs

Mental health services

Immunizations

Emergency services

 Federal funding for this coverage expansion will be made available to the state retroactive to April 1, 2010, when the federal funding first became available.  The state will receive the regular federal Medicaid matching rate for this new coverage, which Connecticut estimates will save the state at least $53 million by July 2011. Under provisions of the Affordable Care Act, beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs related to this new eligibility group for three years.  Beginning in 2017, the federal matching rate will decline gradually until it reaches 90 percent of allowable costs where it will remain indefinitely.

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