A round-up of this week's Affordable Care Act (ACA) news:
Study: 'Young Invincibles' Want Health Insurance
A new study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) by found that, contrary to popular belief, most uninsured young adults – known as the Young Invincibles – actually think they need health insurance. "Even among uninsured young people who call themselves risk-takers, most say that going without health insurance is one risk they don't want to take," says Kathy Hempstead, senior program officer at RWJF. "These results show that demand for coverage is strong, even in this challenging demographic." The study, which was conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change, found that 22.1 percent of uninsured adults age 18 to 29 believe they are "healthy enough" to go without insurance. But even though nearly 80 percent of those surveyed indicated that they wanted health insurance, most do not believe that health insurance will be affordable enough for them to buy.
Republicans Vote to Defund Obamacare
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a funding bill 230 to 189 that would avoid a government shutdown. But the bill also seeks to defund Obamacare, something Senate Democrats and the White House have already said is a non-starter. "It is a blatant act of hostage taking," Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said on the House floor just before the vote. The Senate is expected to strip out any provision that defunds Obamacare and send the House back a clean continuing resolution to keep the government's lights on, U.S. News reports. The House then will have to decide whether it will try again or give up on its efforts to stop the Affordable Care Act. If the two parties cannot come to a consensus, the government will be forced to shutdown on Oct. 1, leading to wide-spread closures of post offices, military bases and Capitol Hill.
Healthcare.gov Software Glitches
Planning to buy health insurance online through healthcare.gov? The Wall Street Journal reports that the government's software may not be ready in time. With less than two weeks to go before the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the federal health overhaul, the software can't reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage, according to insurance executives and people familiar with the program. The problems could affect about 32 million uninsured consumers in 36 states where the federal government is running all or part of the marketplaces; 14 other states are using their own software to run their health insurance marketplaces.
Risk of ACA-Related Scams
The White House is warning consumers to watch out for scam artists who may use the new health law as a way to lure people into giving up personal information. Scammers may pose as an authority from the federal government and request your personal information for a variety of reasons and in several different ways: by phone, email, or even in person at your door. For more information about how to avoid being scammed, click here.
Conservative Group Urges Students Not to Buy Insurance
Generation Opportunity, a Virginia-based conservative group with financial ties to billionaire businessmen and political activists Charles and David Koch, will launch a six-figure anti-Obamacare campaign. Their first video, in which they urged young people to pay the tax penalty rather than "let [the] government play doctor," shows a creepy-looking Uncle Sam getting ready to give a young woman a pelvic exam. "What we're trying to communicate is, 'No, you're actually not required to buy health insurance,'" Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg tells Yahoo News. "You might have to pay a fine, but that's going to be cheaper for you and better for you." Later this month, the group will begin a tour of 20 college campuses, urging students to "opt out" of buying health insurance.
Home Depot, Walgreens to Push Employees Out of Health Plans
In the latest push by big employers like IBM and Time Warner to avoid offering health insurance to certain employees, Home Depot announced that it plans to send almost 20,000 of its part-time workers to the new health insurance marketplaces to buy their own coverage. Workers with fewer than 30 hours a week – about 5 percent of the Atlanta-based company's 340,000 employees – will no longer be offered limited liability medical coverage, Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes tells Bloomberg News. Also this week, Walgreens – the nation's largest drug store chain – announced that it would give their employees a set amount of money and then have them choose their own insurance on the private marketplace. "I think the only way to drive down costs in the health care space is to have the consumer buying the health care be knowledgeable and educated and understand what they are buying," Tom Sondergeld, Walgreens' senior director of health and wellbeing, tells the Associated Press.
Corrected on : Recent news about the Affordable Care Act and its impact on consumers.