Obamacare Reforms Spark Widespread Confusion

Apr 5, 2013 8:13am

Morning Business Memo…

How much do you know about Obamacare? Two surveys find widespread public confusion about some of the most basic changes to insurance coverage that could have a major impact on family finances. Health exchanges are a key part of the law. “That’s pretty much what kicks off most of the reform that people are going to be seeing in their lives,” says Laura Adams, senior analyst at Insurancequotes.com. “Ninety percent of our survey respondents do not know when the new health insurance exchanges are going to open.” In total, 39 percent of Americans say they are somewhat knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act. The confusion over health reform was also a key finding in a recent survey by The Kaiser Family Foundation. Exchange enrollment will begin in October and must be completed by the end of the year.  Health exchanges are new marketplaces where consumers can shop for government qualified programs. If you already have comprehensive employer-provided health insurance, your plan may not change.

Apple’s biggest competitor in the smartphone market just got stronger. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics says its January-March operating profit rose a stunning 53 percent over a year earlier as sales rose 15 percent. Analysts say smartphone sales and shortages in memory chips for personal computers helped Samsung. Smartphone sales revved up in emerging nations despite slower growth in the US and Europe.

Boeing is close to completing tests required by the FAA on its proposed battery fix for the 787 Dreamliner. Final ground and flight tests are expected in the next several days. Smoldering batteries — including one fire on the ground — prompted air safety authorities to ground the world’s 787s in mid-January. Boeing has developed what it believes is a permanent fix, including more heat insulation and a system for venting battery gases outside of the plane.

The spring home sales season is now underway and buyers are being greeted by falling mortgage rates. The national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is now just over 3.5 percent, according to Freddie Mac. Treasury rates are at their lowest level this year. The spring thaw got a boost yesterday with the aggressive rate easing announcement by the Bank of Japan.

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling might be getting out of prison early. The Justice Department is discussing a possible agreement that could cut Skilling’s 24-year prison sentence. Before its collapse in 2001 Enron was the largest energy trader in the world, and one of America’s most admired companies. Since his conviction in 2006, Skilling and his lawyers have launched a series of appeals. The possibility of a sentencing agreement was made public this week in a notice to victims of Enron’s collapse.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc

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