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Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Cigna will not be merging with Anthem. Wednesday night, a federal judge released her decision blocking the $48 billion deal between the two rivals, saying the tie-up is anti-competitive and would stifle innovation. 

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.

Through years of acrimony over the relative merits of Obamacare, one kind of health insurance has remained steady, widespread and relatively affordable: Employer-sponsored plans.

Job-based medical plans still cover more Americans than any other type, typically with greater benefits and lower out-of-pocket expense. Recent cost increases for this sort of coverage have been a tiny fraction of those for Obamacare plans for individuals.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Cigna said it’s ready with a plan B, in case a federal court blocks its proposed merger with rival insurer Anthem.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The CEO of Aetna has spoken out against Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries. Mark Bertolini explained to Bloomberg that he’s the grandson of immigrants. 

With open enrollment season for buying health coverage under the Affordable Care Act ending Tuesday, it seemed like an apt time to talk with folks in charge of some of the state insurance marketplaces created by the federal health law.

It's the fifth year these marketplaces, also called exchanges, have been running. The marketplaces are the go-to option for people under 65 who don't get health insurance through work or qualify for Medicaid.

For the past three years, Americares has run a free health clinic in Stamford, Connecticut, using a 40-foot converted school bus. On Wednesday, the nonprofit opened up a brick and mortar version of that clinic. Last year, the mobile clinic served 850 patients. The new permanent clinic is equipped to serve a lot more. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Aetna’s shares took a big tumble Monday after a federal judge blocked the insurer’s planned megamerger with Humana. They ended the day down almost three percent, and continued to slide Tuesday morning.

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

A federal judge has issued an injunction blocking the proposed merger of health insurers Aetna and Humana.

With little power left in Washington, Democrats set out on Sunday to make a big statement against GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act with rallies in dozens of cities.

It's also a step for the party toward regaining its footing after grassroots efforts in 2016 failed to keep the White House in Democrats' hands.

An overwhelming majority of people disapprove of Republican lawmakers' plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without having a ready replacement for the health care law, according to a poll released Friday.

And judging by the letter-writing and lobbying in the first week of the new congressional session, many health care and business groups agree.

Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut's U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is sounding the alarm about the future of healthcare under the new Republican congress and the Trump administration.

People in Columbia, S.C., had their pick of four health insurers last year when they shopped for policies during the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment.

This time they have just one: Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, which had the most Obamacare enrollees in Richland County in 2016 due to its low prices.

It's a change that's been repeated around the country after big health insurers such as Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare pulled out of dozens of Obamacare marketplaces that they judged unprofitable.

Republicans in Congress are so eager to repeal the Affordable Care Act that some have vowed to get a bill to President-elect Donald Trump's desk on the day he takes the oath of office.

"We will move right after the first of the year on an Obamacare repeal resolution," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters at a news conference Monday.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A bipartisan mental health reform bill co-authored by Democratic Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy passed the Senate on Wednesday. It passed the House last week.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Access Health CT, the state’s health care exchange, must figure out its future under soon-to-be President Donald Trump. But that’s far from simple. Trump has been clear he intends to repeal and replace Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act – but it's less clear what he intends to replace it with. 

Cigna

Cigna CEO David Cordani took the stand Tuesday in the anti-trust case against his company’s proposed merger with fellow health insurer Anthem. Some of the tensions between the two merger partners were on display as both Cordani and Anthem CEO Joe Swedish were questioned. 

Cigna / Cigna

Anthem and the U.S. Justice Department faced off in court Monday arguing over whether the insurer’s plans to buy Bloomfield-based Cigna threaten anti-trust issues. 

The Affordable Care Act's requirement that people have health insurance or pay a fine is one of the least popular provisions of the law, and one that Republicans have pledged to eliminate when they repeal and replace Obamacare.

But take a look at some of the replacement proposals that are floating around and it becomes clear that the "individual mandate," as it's called, could still exist, but in another guise.

New York Times

The top executive of one of the nation's largest health insurance companies said the incoming Trump administration must confront the problems of the health insurance system.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

As technology advances and devices become more interconnected, security risks multiply. A large scale cyberattack which took down websites like Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter last month alerted many people to the risks of what’s known as the internet of things.

The Connecticut Mirror

Access Health CT, the state’s health care exchange, said its hoping to grow enrollment next year, despite challenges over rates, competition, and access. 

Open enrollment in health care plans for 2017 begins on Tuesday, November 1. If people want their plans to start on January 1, they must be enrolled by December 15.

The cost of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is expected to rise an average of 22 percent in 2017, according to information released by the Obama administration Monday afternoon.

Still, federal subsidies will also rise, meaning that few people are likely to have to pay the full cost after the rate increases to get insurance coverage.

Fuse / Thinkstock

Bloomfield-based health insurer Cigna has agreed to end a policy that required physicians to fill out extra paperwork before they could give patients a drug used to treat opioid addiction. 

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

Health insurer Aetna is looking to reduce its workforce through early retirement, and will also change some of its workforce policies. The Hartford-based company issued a statement saying it wants to position itself for continued growth in 2017 and beyond.

Sikorsky Aircraft

The Teamsters union representing many workers at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford has voted in favor of a deal that will bring production of a new heavy lift helicopter to Connecticut. But the package also means a 25 percent pay cut for workers who are hired from 2017 onward. 

C-Hit.org

The physicians of Yale Medicine will remain within Anthem’s network. The provider group and the health insurance company said Wednesday that they came to terms, just three days before a deadline that would have seen them part ways. 

Slawomir Fajer/iStock / Thinkstock

A prominent physicians group in Connecticut and health insurer Anthem face a deadline this week to reach an agreement to keep the doctors within the insurer’s network. The brinksmanship of this particular face-off is attracting the attention of lawmakers. 

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Patrick Skahill

Claim University is a giant warehouse operated by the insurance company Travelers, where insurance adjusters go to train. Inside are dinged-up cars, damaged store fronts, and big model houses.

And while you might not think of insurance adjusters as risk takers, Patrick Gee, who works on auto and property claims for Travelers, said they can be.

“Whenever you climb ladders or you get up on a roof, despite well-trained claim professionals with safety standards, there's always a risk of an accident occurring,” Gee said.

Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

Customers on Connecticut’s health care exchange use medical services at a much higher rate than non-exchange customers, according to insurance providers. 

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