WASHINGTON, D.C. — New health insurance coverage is scheduled to take effect Wednesday, New Year’s Day, for the thousands of West Virginians who have enrolled for that coverage from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield via the federal exchange.

It’ll mark a milestone in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010.

On Jan. 1, some key provisions on that health care reform law will be fully implemented, including the following:

– Insurance coverage through the state and federal exchanges, along with qualifying tax credits, will kick in.  People who do not have health insurance will be able to continue to enroll through March 31.

– Consumer protections, like those that keep insurance companies from denying coverage because of preexisting conditions or gender, will be in effect.

– Caps on annual coverage for an individual in new insurance plans or existing group plans will be lifted.

– Medicaid will expand to cover more people, including more than 60,000 additional West Virginians.

First District Congressman David McKinley (R-WV), though, said the law needs major adjustments in 2014.

“Not everything in Obamacare is bad.  That would be foolish to say that,” he said.  “There are people who were happy with it, but they’re outraged by the fact that their premiums are going up so much.”

He said U.S. House Republicans have as many as five alternative plans that will be rolled out in the coming months on Capitol Hill.

Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) agreed.  “I voted to repeal and replace and I will still do that, but the train is on the tracks now even though it’s a wreck.  We’ve got to really look at adjustments,” she said.

Members of Congress will return to Washington, D.C. during the week of Jan. 6.

The health care reform law is expected to be a major issue in the 2014 races for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.

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  • james

    This will go hand in hand with the Census numbers, WV one of two states to lose residents. WV will have an influx of new residents wanting to receive its liberal welfare benefits and now expanded Medicaid. The downside is WV will continue its traditional trade off, the loss of young educated work force, who go to states that offer jobs, while WV receives the uneducated who have no job skills to receive the welfare benefits that are more liberal and better than their home states. The remaining working people are taxed excessively to pay for it. This has been the WV democratic model for over seventy years.

  • just saying

    Over 3 million people with their policies cancelled, including mine...increased premiums, increased deductibles, and increased out of pocket costs for the majority of Americans all so that a small minority of people can have coverage. Something is totally wrong with this picture, especially since I did not ask to have my costs increase. I have a feeling that things are only going to get worse with new taxes and fees on the working folks/middle class to pay for all of these new enrollees..is this not called 'spreading the wealth" as Obama spoke of during the campaign?

  • Aaron

    When the discussion of health care came about in 2009, American was told that health care reform was imperative as 50 million Americans were without access to affordable health care.

    After different bills were passed in the House and Senate and then passed due to reconciliation, we found out that only 30 million Americans would receive health care, meaning 40% would remain uninsured.

    Once the bill was passed and challenged in court, due to the Supreme Court ruling that found the federal government could not force states to expand Medicaid to 130% of the poverty level, an additional 5-7 million Americans found out they would not receive insurance. As a result, 54% of the uninsured before the bill passed would remain uninsured.

    American were initially told that due to fundamental changes to student loan interest payments being diverted to healthcare (that’s another travesty of this bill), CBO estimates had Obamacare actually reducing the deficit. Of course that estimate was based on 10 years of revenue with only 6 years of payments. Once the CBO received actually data on what would be spent, they revived their estimates and now state that Obamacare will cost taxpayers over $100 billion annually.

    In a nutshell, Americans have fundamentally changed health care, 1/6th of our total GDP at a cost of billions to cover less than half of those we were uninsured in 2008 and the administration is excited that 1 million Americans will sign up for insurance.

    Given that the vast majority of those without insurance had access to healthcare, I have to wonder, how could anyone with half a brain say the Affordable Healthcare Act is a good bill.

    Does anyone have an answer to a very legitimate question?

  • Chris P.

    The number is actually wrong, I believe it is over 70,000 people now will have coverage through the medicaid expansion with up to 119,000 estimated on the way to sign up.

    These 119,000 are working at jobs that do not provide insurance. It will help them immensely.

  • Silence DoGood

    A look at the cost structure of the ACA, for those who are interested. Good luck


  • Gigi

    How many people in West Virginia have received cancellation notices? Without the 60,000 additional Medicaid enrollees, would we really have an increase in the number of people covered? Why didn't we just expand the Medicaid guidelines and not create all this other mess? That would accomplish the same effect of putting more people on the dole so Democratic politicians keep getting elected.

  • TCeer

    60,000 more on Medicaid.....guess who pays for that....we do! This is a huge disaster for our country and our state. Get ready for huge tax increases to pay for this crap. I'm just thankful the unions are going to get the same shaft that the rest of us get....after all they were huge supporters of the law. Also, wait until the ones who actually have to pay for insurance on these exchanges see the montster deductibles that come with these plans. I find hard to swallow the fact that Americans were so stupid as to accept the line of crap that came from Democratic politicians on this law....and yes, this includes your beloved Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller. Nancy Pelosi said " we have to pass it to see what is in it". Well folks, now you're seeing what's in it and it mostly ain't good for the working man.

    • Chris P.

      People will be glad they have a high insurance deductible vs. nothing at all. They understand what lies ahead if they have NOTHING and have an emergency that lands them in a hospital for a few days. BANKRUPTCY!

  • Linda

    Happy to hear so many will be getting health coverage in WV.

    • Art in Ohio

      I believe most West Virginia's had good health care coverage before this mess showed up.