Sarah Varney reports on the implementation of the federal health law in the states and the effect of state budget woes on public programs, county governments and vulnerable populations including children and the elderly. Most recently, Sarah was the health reporter for KQED's statewide news program The California Report. She began reporting for KQED in 2002 and covered a range of subjects: from the ethics, politics and science of stem cell research to the religious and legal challenges over gay marriage to a story that debunked "toxin-sucking" foot pads. Sarah reports regularly for NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered and for KHN's print partners. | Contact: SarahV@kff.org
More important than age, however, will be how healthy or unhealthy the enrollees are. Those who are sick are more motivated to sign up early, researchers said.
The insurance commissioner and the health insurance industry lobby disagree over President Obama’s plan.
Mom-and-Pop shops give way to large group practices that often accept discounted rates from insurers.
Once consumers are primed to enroll, the hand-off to counselors has been rocky. Many counselors are still attending training or are awaiting background checks and state-issued licenses; some just need a computer log-in.
Brad Stevens, 54, learned the hard way that being uninsured was risky as accidents and illness took a toll. Soon, he'll qualify for California's expanded Medicaid program.
Pardit Pri, 29, is among the 5 million uninsured people in California. Insurance would give her peace of mind, but she worries whether she can afford it.
There was a party atmosphere at Affordable Care Act events in California, where the law has been embraced, and in Virginia, where it has been resisted. But consumers will have very different experiences in the two states.
California's mild climate means that farm work is a year-round business, and come 2015, the Affordable Care Act will require farm labor contractors to offer health insurance to field workers for the first time.
In more than two dozen states, obesity treatments – including intensive weight loss counseling, drugs and surgery – won’t have to be covered in plans sold on the online insurance marketplaces.
On Thursday, the state cleared 13 health plans to offer insurance in its Obamacare online marketplace - at prices that are lower than expected.