Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius answers questions about HealthCare.gov in Dallas earlier this month.
Larry W. Smith/EPA/Landov
December 31, 2013 The Health and Human Services Secretary, who has spent months fending off critics of the Affordable Care Act rollout, is touting the improving numbers.
Insurance coverage is only one part of the health puzzle.
December 31, 2013 Even for people who get insurance that complies with the Affordable Care Act, there are potential trouble spots. Those include expensive prescription drugs, specialist care and services such as physical therapy that typically require a course of treatment over weeks or months.
December 30, 2013 Michelle Snyder, who was responsible for the problem-plagued website, will retire from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
December 27, 2013 Just six people managed to sign up for health insurance through the federal website the day it opened for business. The numbers are better now, but the botched rollout may have not only inconvenienced people, but also permanently changed people's perceptions of the Affordable Care Act.
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December 26, 2013 Iowa initially chose not to expand Medicaid to thousands of beneficiaries under the Affordable Care Act. But it's come up with a plan that uses federal money to pay for expansion, while writing its own rules. Beneficiaries will have to pay a small premium, for instance.
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The Colorado health exchange van stops at a shopping center in Fort Collins.
Eric Whitney for NPR
December 23, 2013 TV ads and websites are all well and good, but Colorado is finding that face-to-face help from a live person is often the best way to reach the uninsured and sign them up for a health plan. Still, it isn't easy, and takes time and money.
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December 20, 2013 People whose health policies were canceled get hardship exemptions that excuse them from penalties. They'll also have the option to buy catastrophic coverage. These little-noticed plans cover only three primary care visits, specified preventive services and medical costs that exceed a high minimum.
Tammy Boudreaux (right) with her partner, Laura Perez. Boudreaux is weighing the cost and benefits of purchasing health insurance.
Courtesy of Tammy Boudreaux
December 19, 2013 Going without insurance would be a gamble. But the high deductibles of Affordable Care Act plans make them a hard sell for Tammy Boudreaux. If her health holds up, she could skip insurance, pay a penalty and still save a couple of hundred dollars a month.
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Oregon is still using paper applications to enroll people through the Affordable Care Act.
December 18, 2013 People now have until January 10 to pay for their first month of coverage through the health exchanges. But people using the federal exchange still have to get signed up by Dec. 23. Some states have pushed deadlines even later.
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Hey, Mom, can I get braces like that guy?
December 18, 2013 Under the health law, pediatric dental coverage is one of 10 core health benefits that must be offered to people who shop for plans on the health insurance marketplaces. But the plans are only required to cover only medically necessary orthodontia.
Early December brought a foot of fresh powder to the resorts of Vail, Colo., but some residents are still steaming.
Zach Mahone, Beaver Creek Resort/AP
December 12, 2013 Gas, groceries and rents are all pricier in Summit and Eagle counties than in Denver, just a hundred miles away. Health insurance costs a lot more in these mountain communities, too, and some folks are crying foul. Their congressman — a Democrat — is asking the feds for relief.
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Doug Normington is 58, self-employed, and has diabetes.
Courtesy of Doug Normington
December 12, 2013 The Obama administration says the HealthCare.gov experience is getting better, but what's it really like? We asked Doug Normington of Madison, Wis., to let us peek over his shoulder as he tries to buy health insurance through the federal exchange. After many tries, success.
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Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is facing a tough re-election bid.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
December 11, 2013 How's the Louisiana senator responding to GOP efforts to tie her to the Affordable Care Act's problems? Partly with an ad that gives her outsize credit for President Obama's decision to change course and let people keep health plans next year that would otherwise be canceled under the new law.
December 11, 2013 Because HealthCare.gov was barely functioning in October and much of November, the administration is falling far short of the 3.3 million people it has projected would sign up by the end of December. Still, federal officials say they're confident that 7 million people will have obtained insurance on the exchanges by the end of March.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' shadow appeared behind the lectern as she spoke about the implementation of the federal health law in Detroit in November.
December 11, 2013 As of Nov. 30, more than 137,000 people had obtained health insurance through the federal website. Another 227,000 got coverage through the state exchanges. Users have until Dec. 23 to sign up if they want the health insurance coverage to start Jan. 1.
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