health insurance

White House officials say the government's health insurance website, which has been plagued with problems ever since it launched in October, is now working smoothly for most users.

"The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity with greatly improved performance," Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the site, said during a telephone conference with reporters on Sunday. The bottom line, said Zients, is that Healthcare.gov is "night and day" from what it was at launch.

Saturday is the day the Obama administration promised it would have HealthCare.gov working smoothly for the majority of people who need to sign up for health insurance.

As the Obama administration scrambles to fix the glitch-plagued site, experts are beginning to worry about another problem that may further impair the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

The rollout of the national online Health Insurance Exchange under the Affordable Care Act in October has caused political strife for President Obama and increased uncertainly for those seeking insurance.

Amanda Lucidon / The White House

Under fire from Republicans and Democrats alike, President Obama announced Thursday that the millions of consumers getting cancelation notices for their current health plans will be able to keep those same plans for another 12 months.

The decision comes as the White House is pressures Florida officials to expand Medicaid in the state under the Affordable Care Act.

Health insurers are ending policies for what could turn out to be millions of Americans. The moves have rattled consumers and stoked new debate about the health care law.

No one knows for sure right now how many of the estimated 14 million people who buy their own insurance are getting cancellation notices, but the numbers appear to be big. Some insurers report discontinuing 20 percent of their individual business, while other insurers have notified up to 80 percent of policyholders that they will have to change plans.

The Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Department is trying to do its part to help seniors navigate the health insurance maze.

Yesterday, the department kicked off a series of health fairs to be held all over the county as part of their Active Adults program.

Health service providers gave short presentations about how they can help to navigate the complicated health system -- tips about how to get the most out of coverage and ways to avoid health care fraud.

A subcontractor that built a portion of the HealthCare.gov website that's now working relatively well is being promoted to oversee a thorough revamping of the entire glitch-prone portal, and work will be done by the end of next month, the White House says.

Carol Gentry / WUSF

While most of the uninsured will be able to get subsidized health coverage Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act, the poorest adults under 65 will be out of luck in many states, including Florida.

You could call them “The Forgotten.”  Many are women in their 50s and 60s, too old to have children still at home so they can’t qualify for Medicaid. But they’re not yet 65 so they don’t qualify for Medicare, either.

One of them is Debra Straley, 56. She has no job and no health insurance, but luckily can get her high blood pressure pills at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. 

Jurors continue to deliberate in the Kelly Mathis trial, memo warns of terrorist "dry runs" on Florida bound flights, and the state's struggling health insurance exchange in headlines this morning.

Last week marked the implementation of the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's 2010 signature health care reform law, the opening of the national online Health Insurance Marketplace.

Florida's online health insurance exchange has been mired in technical issues since it opened last week, leaving some seeking coverage with long waits to sign up. Florida, which ranks second to Texas for uninsured residents, is among 19 states with exchanges facilitated by the federal government. 

MIAMI (AP) — The federal website that offers a key provision of president Obama's health law launched this week with a sputter, a crash and a lot more web traffic than anyone expected. But by week's end, with most Floridians still unable to access the online marketplace and sign up for health insurance, organizations were trying to build on momentum even though there was little they could do.

One charged after Jacksonville International Airport evacuated due to suspicious packages, the Mathews Bridge could be open in two weeks, and the government shutdown are in headlines this morning.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican leaders have worked to block the Affordable Care Act since it was first proposed.

As Tuesday's opening of enrollment approached, Florida's Health Department said it wouldn't allow navigators and others to use its offices to educate and counsel people on the new law.

But others are eager to help. "We're ready to serve our community," says Efraim Monzon, director of a Florida Blue retail center in Miami. "We've been ready since 2010 when we heard it was coming."

FORT LAUDERDALE (AP) — After months of build-up, Florida residents can start shopping for health insurance on government-run online marketplaces as the key component of the Affordable Care Act goes live. But there were already several kinks in the system early today. 

Tuesday is a big day for the White House. That's when new health insurance exchanges open in every state, where people can buy the insurance the Affordable Care Act requires next year. They will also see if they qualify for new subsidies to help them afford it.

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