Obama Administration Releases Improved Healthcare.gov
On Dec. 2, the Obama Administration unveiled a much improved Healthcare.gov, fixing some 400 software issues, reported Bloomberg Businessweek. According to Jeff Zients, whom President Barack Obama hired to manage and resolve the site's issues, “Healthcare.gov on Dec. 1st is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1st.” Due to the site’s troubles early on during the open enrollment period, the Obama Administration extended enrollment for coverage until Dec. 23.
2014 Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Saturday
For those who are still looking to buy or change their existing Medicare coverage, Dec. 7 is the last day to enroll for 2014 coverage. U.S. News Best Medicare Plans helps consumers navigate options when choosing a plan. The site evaluates all insurance companies and their plans offered by state and rates the best Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans in each state. Helpful articles can also give perspective on such things as the difference between Medicare and Medigap, the hidden costs of Medicare and how to pick specific plans such as Medicare Part D.
HHS Grants $55M to Boost Health Care Industry
In a statement released on Dec. 5, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that $55 million would be given to increase the size of the health care workforce, offsetting concerns about a future shortage of health care workers. Most of the funds -- $45.4 million -- will go towards expanding the nursing workforce. “From diversity to dentistry, all are critical to achieving a skilled workforce now and in the future,” Mary Wakefield, an administrator for HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration, told The Washington Post.
Analysis: 28 Percent of Americans Would Rather Pay Tax Penalty Than Buy Insurance
In a recent Gallop poll, 28 percent of uninsured Americans said they would rather pay the 2014 fine than enroll in a health insurance plan, reports U.S. News. The majority of the 655 adults surveyed said they intended to purchase a plan. The 2014 penalty for opting out of a health plan is $95 or 1 percent of annual income, whichever is greater. Of those who said they would not buy a plan, the reasons were both financial and ethical. Michael Robertson, an entrepreneur, said he would rather pay the fine as his income is too high for him to qualify for a federal subsidy to help offset the costs of a family plan. Christina Martin, a pro-life advocate, explained that she could not enroll in a plan that “glorifies free birth control and trivializes abortion.”