Dec 30, 2013, 8:00 am EDT
With the deadline to register for health care in time for it to start January 1 finally past, the figures are now in for the first step of the often rocky health care roll-out.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 1.1 million Americans registered for health care through the federal marketplace between October 1 and December 24. The vast majority of them — 975,000 — registered in December.
The 1.1 million figure only includes the 36 states using the federal government’s site, HealthCare.gov, to handle registrations. There are fourteen states and the District of Columbia operating their own exchanges. Read
Dec 27, 2013, 1:56 pm EDT
1.3 million Americans are set to lose their federal emergency unemployment benefits tomorrow unless the Senate comes up with a solution.
Dec. 27, 2013 marks the last day of benefits for these Americans but Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Jack Reed is looking to pass a three-month extension to long-term federal unemployment insurance. Reed and Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller are planning on introducing the extension together. These unemployment benefits would not come out of the budget since this is an economic emergency so the cost would simply be added to the deficit.
In addition to the 1.3 million that will be affected starting tomorrow, 1.9 million others will also lose their unemployment benefits by next summer. Read
Dec 26, 2013, 2:57 pm EDT
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is raising the price of first-class stamps in order to help the service recover from losses.
USPS has been losing money since the 2008 economic downturn and it is raising first-class stamp prices in an attempt to counteract these losses. The 3-cent price hike will take first-class stamp prices to 49 cents starting Jan. 26. The service said that this is only a temporary solution and prices will be taken back down to 46 cents two years later.
The move comes as USPS tries to recover from the $5 billion it lost in the last fiscal year. While USPS maintains that the move will be helpful for the service, companies and charities that use stamps for mass mailings are not happy with the move. Read
Dec 24, 2013, 9:53 am EDT
On Monday, the White House announced that the deadline to sign up for insurance coverage effective by Jan. 1 had been extended on more day.
Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — commonly known as Obamacare — individuals must obtain health insurance coverage. The administration had already delayed the Obamacare enrollment deadline from earlier in December to Monday due to problems with the federal health insurance exchange website. Yesterday, that the Obamacare enrollment deadline was pushed back again — until Tuesday, Fox News notes.
A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services indicated that while Monday remained official deadline for Obamacare enrollment, people who enrolled on Tuesday “will get coverage for Jan 1.” Read
Dec 23, 2013, 10:09 am EDT
Monday is the last day Americans without health insurance can sign up for coverage in order to avoid fines imposed by President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Well, mostly.
The law — generally referred to as Obamacare — requires individuals not covered by insurance from employers or spouses to obtain coverage that starts by Jan. 1. However, due the technical glitches that prevent many people from enrolling in insurance coverage through the federal health exchange website, some people will be granted a “hardship” exemption. Those who try to enroll by the Obamacare signup deadline, but can’t due to the website issues, would avoid the penalty an unnamed senior Obama administration official told Reuters.
In some states with state-run exchanges, the Obamacare signup deadline has already been delayed beyond Dec. 23. Individuals whose prior insurance plans were cancelled because of Obamacare have additional exemption times. Read
Dec 20, 2013, 11:49 am EDT
On Thursday, the top court in New Mexico added the state to the list of places where gay marriage is legal in the U.S.
In an unanimous decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court determined that no existing state statute prevented same sex marriages. It also declared that forbidding gay marriages was discriminatory to gay people. The decision made New Mexico the 17th U.S. state where gay marriage is legal, Reuters notes.
A legal battle arose in New Mexico after several counties began issuing marriage licenses to same sex partners. Lower courts had upheld the licenses for same sex marriages. The state’s supreme court entered the debate after 33 county clerks asked it to decide the legality of gay marriage in the state. It ruled that civil marriage in New Mexico would now be defined as “the voluntary union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.” Read