KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Activists Try To Fill Gaps Left By Trump Gutting Health Law Outreach Budget

Organizations such as Protect Our Care and health care leaders like Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, are trying to keep the momentum going to get people to enroll in health care coverage for next year. Media outlets report on marketplace news out of Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado and Ohio, as well.

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Care Sign-Up Groups Brace For Enrollment Challenge
Democrats and activists are trying to promote the Affordable Care Act’s open-enrollment period and raise money for outreach following a Trump administration decision to cut millions of dollars from programs that help people sign up for health coverage. That outside effort, unfolding alongside a push on Capitol Hill to restore some of the funds, includes more than 1,500 volunteers organizing on social-media sites such as Facebook under the name Indivisible ACA Signup Project, seeking to promote the open-enrollment season beginning Nov. 1. (Armour, 9/6)

The Wall Street Journal: Obamacare Insurer In Virginia To Scale Back Planned Expansion
Virginia became the latest state at risk of having regions that will lack Affordable Care Act exchange plans next year, after a small insurer announced it will scale back the area where it expects to offer marketplace insurance. The Virginia area that currently has no 2018 exchange insurer includes 48 counties and parts of six more, as well as 15 cities that are independent of counties, according to a Virginia state regulator. In total, the state has 95 counties and 38 independent cities. (Wilde Mathews, 9/6)

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Optima Health Pulls Out Of Some Virginia Insurance Marketplaces
As a handful of major insurance companies prepare to leave Virginia’s health exchanges for good, the Hampton Roads-based insurer Optima Health announced Wednesday that it will likely scale back its participation in some marketplaces next year. In the 2018 Affordable Care Act exchanges, Optima Health will offer coverage only in locations where there are Sentara Healthcare hospitals and physicians, including Hampton Roads, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, and Halifax and Mecklenburg counties. (Connor, 9/6)

The Hill: Anthem To Exit ObamaCare Markets In Half Of Kentucky
Insurance giant Anthem is exiting ObamaCare markets in half of the counties in Kentucky, leaving many individuals with only one insurer choice for next year. The insurer has already announced plans to scale back participation in or leave the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) public exchanges in Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nevada and Ohio. (Weixel, 9/6)

Denver Post: Colorado Regulators Approve 27 Percent Increase In Individual Health Insurance Premiums For 2018
Coloradans who buy their health insurance on their own will see an average premium increase next year of nearly 27 percent, before taking federal tax credits into account. The Colorado Division of Insurance announced Wednesday that it has given final approval to rates proposed by nine different insurers expecting to offer plans both on and off of the state’s insurance exchange in 2018. In some cases, regulators knocked back the originally proposed rates — such as with Cigna, where regulators and the company negotiated to drop the proposed increase from above 40 percent down to about 31 percent. In other instances, regulators urged carriers to raise their rates higher, fearing that the low-ball proposals weren’t sustainable. (Ingold, 9/6)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Premiums For Obamacare Policies To Rise By 34 Percent On Average, State Says
Ohioans who buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange will see premiums rise by 34 percent on average in 2018, the Ohio Department of Insurance said today. ... The average includes an extra 11 percent insurers built in with the expectation that President Donald Trump's administration will no longer provide cost-sharing payments, or payments insurers previously got for holding down out-of-pocket costs for lower-income customers. (Koff, 9/6)

Columbus Dispatch: Ohioans Face Sharp Premium Hikes, Fewer Insurers On Obamacare Exchanges
If President Donald Trump makes good on his threat to cut health-insurance subsidies, Ohioans will see sharply limited options on the state’s Obamacare exchanges next year. ... Residents of 20 Ohio counties were facing 2018 with not even one insurer offering coverage in the exchange, but the state reached an agreement this summer with five insurers to provide coverage. (Rowland, 9/7)

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