Health Insurance

Louisianians Keep Their Health Insurance Subsidies

Jun 29, 2015

138,000 people in Louisiana are still receiving subsidies for health insurance through the federal government.  For them, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act last week was good news. 

For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it. That ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

Subsidies under the health law for workers to buy their own coverage combined with years of rising costs in the company plan made dropping the plan an obvious — though not easy — choice.

You don't get a pass this year on big health insurance decisions because you're not shopping in an Affordable Care Act marketplace. Employer medical plans — where most working-age folks get coverage — are changing too.

Rising costs, a looming tax on rich benefits packages and the idea that people should buy medical treatment the way they shop for cellphones have increased odds that workplace plans will be very different in 2015.

UPDATE: The state Office of Group Benefits announced on Oct. 1 -- the first day of the enrollment period for the new health insurance plans -- that the enrollment period will extend until Nov. 30 and the changes will take effect March 1, instead of Jan. 1. In a statement, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said, “Shifting our timeline will give people the chance to get accurate information and better understand their options.”  

The state House Appropriations Committee spent all day Thursday taking testimony about changes to health insurance plans offered for 230,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and their family members through the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits.

The Legislative Fiscal Office had looked over the offerings and estimated maximum out-of-pocket costs for people covered through OGB could go up significantly, 47 percent on average, more than $1,600 per year for a single active employee.

The new plans are supposed to take effect in January. The enrollment period is slated to start next week.

When private hospitals transfer patients who don't have insurance to public hospitals, it's called "patient dumping." But a study from Stanford University published Wednesday suggests a twist: Hospitals, it seems, are less likely to transfer critically injured patients to trauma centers if the patients have health insurance.

Dr. L. Lee Montgomery, a primary care physician at Louisiana Family Medicine in Baton Rouge, says a good doctor-patient relationship can also reduce the cost of care.


The Obama administration delivered on a long-delayed health care promise when it issued rules to ensure equal health insurance treatment for people who have problems with mental health or need treatment for substance abuse.

The rules, issued Friday, require that most health insurance plans offer the same amount of coverage for mental health and substance abuse claims as they do for medical and surgical coverage.

More than 12 million Americans buy health insurance on their own, and many are getting cancellation notices because their individual coverage does not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. This is causing anxiety and anger — especially since most of these people can't get onto the healthcare.gov website to figure out their options for 2014.

Insurance Agent Recommends Paper Form Over Exchange Website

Oct 27, 2013

Since it launched Oct. 1, the online portal for the health insurance marketplace required by the Affordable Care Act has been plagued with glitches. It's been hard to find anyone who's been able to enroll for an insurance plan at Healthcare.gov yet.

Insurance broker Phil Muscarello says agents can help consumers fill out a paper application instead. For more information, visit www.pjmi.com.

While politicians continue to wrangle over the roll-out of the federal Affordable Care Act, families and individuals are grappling with what it means for them.