Covering Health Reform: Web Briefings for Journalists

After more than three years of political controversy and legal challenges, the major coverage provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act are now in place as of January 1, 2014 — yet polling finds roughly half of Americans say they don’t know enough about the health reform law to understand how it will affect their families. With state health insurance Marketplaces enrolling people in coverage through March 31, local and national print, online, television and radio news outlets will play a critical role in educating their audiences about the law’s new realities.

As part of its Media Fellowships Program, the Kaiser Family Foundation held a series of free, interactive web briefings exclusively for journalists to address key aspects of the Affordable Care Act, its implications for consumers, and strategies for connecting the dots for different audiences.

Key Issues Around Medicaid Expansion Efforts in the States 
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
  • The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion continues to be a key issue as many states that initially decided not to move forward are now considering it anew to draw down federal dollars to expand coverage to more low-income adults. Medicaid experts Laura Snyder and Robin Rudowitz help reporters understand the national landscape and issues surrounding expansion, including eligibility, enrollment, state budgets, and waivers.
How ACA’s Employer Requirements and Related Provisions Affect Businesses and Workers
Thursday, December 18, 2014
  • A major piece of the Affordable Care Act will first take effect January 1 when larger employers will be required to offer coverage to their workers or face penalties. How do the penalties work and how are they being phased in? What options do employers have for complying with the requirement and what might their responses be? How might these provisions affect coverage and costs for employers and workers? What are the implications of the King vs. Burwell case recently taken up by the Supreme Court for the employer requirement? Gary Claxton and Larry Levitt, Co-Executive Directors of the Foundation’s Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance, help reporters understand these issues.
Consumer Issues Ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s Second Open Enrollment Season
Thursday, November 13, 2014
  • How are premiums for marketplace plans changing, and what do the changes mean for consumers?  Why might current marketplace customers want to consider switching plans?  For those new to insurance, how can they better understand and use their coverage?  And how will the law’s subsidies and coverage requirements affect consumers’ 2014 and 2015 taxes?  Again, local and national print, online, television, and radio news outlets will play a major role in educating their audiences about the law, and the Foundation’s State Health Policy Director Jennifer Tolbert and Senior Fellow Karen Pollitz are here to help.
Women’s Health Under the Affordable Care Act
Thursday, February 6, 2014
  • The Foundation’s Vice President and Director of Women’s Health Policy, Alina Salganicoff, and Senior Policy Analyst Laurie Sobel discussed how the Affordable Care Act expands access to coverage and preventive care for women, and how these elements of the law are being implemented. Reviewed current legal issues related to the contraceptive coverage requirement, as well as state and federal policies affecting insurance coverage of abortion.
A Year-End Update on the ACA Rollout & Looking Ahead to 2014
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
  • Featured Larry Levitt, Co-Director of the Foundation’s Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance & Senior Vice President, and Jennifer Tolbert, State Health Policy Director. The web briefing touched on some of the major questions as people start using ACA coverage and the end of open enrollment period approaches March 31.
How the Affordable Care Act Affects Baby Boomers and Medicare Beneficiaries
Thursday, November 21, 2013
  • Focused on the major changes facing older people. The Foundation’s Associate Director of the Program on Medicare Policy, Juliette Cubanski and Senior Fellow Karen Pollitz discussed how the Affordable Care Act impacts Medicare benefits and beneficiaries, as well as the ACA’s role for baby boomers who are not yet 65 and eligible for Medicare.
Researching Consumer Stories, Finding New Ideas & Securing Real-World Examples
Thursday, November 14, 2013
  • Discusses best practices for reporting on the Affordable care Act. Kaiser Health News (KHN) Staff Writer Sarah Varney and  “Insuring Your Health” columnist Michelle Andrews discuss approaches to covering this complex story by incorporating individual examples; provide tips and techniques for digging into the details of the law (with expert help) to describe how its provisions play out in real life; and suggest new angles and under-reported story ideas. They also identify upcoming policy deadlines and timelines, and explore how to weave these into your stories over the next several months.
Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act: The Impact of State Decisions
Thursday, October 24, 2013
  • Explores the role of Medicaid under the health reform law and the implications of state decisions to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Two associate directors for the Foundation’s Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured – Robin Rudowitz and Rachel Garfield – provide a brief presentation on the law’s Medicaid expansion, where states stand on implementation, and the impact of state decisions on coverage and financing.
Understanding Premiums Under The Affordable Care Act
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
  • Looks at insurance rates and plan offerings in the new state-based marketplaces. The Co-Directors of the Foundation’s Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance, Senior Vice President Larry Levitt and Vice President Gary Claxton give a brief presentation on the early reports of rates, how and why they vary, and what consumers would pay after taking tax credits into account.
What Do Consumers Need to Know About Health Reform’s Changes?
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
  • Overview of how the Affordable Care Act’s impact will vary for people in different circumstances, including those currently with employer coverage, those who buy their own insurance, and those who are currently uninsured. The Foundation’s State Health Policy Director Jennifer Tolbert and Senior Fellow Karen Pollitz explain the law’s individual mandate, as well as its new coverage options, including new state insurance marketplaces, subsidies for people with low- and moderate incomes, and new rules prohibiting insurers from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions.

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