KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Insurers Unnerved By Rule Changes For Consumers With Canceled Policies

The Obama administration's announcement last week that consumers whose policies had been canceled could buy catastrophic health plans and were also exempt from the law's mandate in the first year spurred handwringing in some quarters.

The Wall Street Journal: Rule Change On Health Insurance Rattles Industry
Monday is the final day for consumers to get new health coverage that takes effect when the new year arrives, leaving thousands of people racing to sign up in time—and health insurers trying to figure out whether the federal health law will work in the way they had hoped. The number of Americans enrolling continues to fall short of the goals the Obama administration has laid out, which is a problem for the White House. It also represents a problem for the insurance industry, which calculated that the prospect of millions of new customers brought their way by the Affordable Care Act and its coverage requirements would make up for any disruption that came along with the law (Williamson and Radnofsky, 12/22).

Politico: Mandate Change Adds To Obamacare Confusion
If your health insurance was canceled, you don't have to rush out and buy it right now. But if you don't have insurance, you still have to buy it or face a fine. And if you can’t keep what some advocates have derided as a "junk plan," you can get another kind of slimmed-down plan — for a while. Confused? You're not alone (Haberkorn and Millman, 12/20).

The Fiscal Times: Is Obamacare's Individual Mandate Next To Go?
The administration's latest retreat on Obamacare signals the first tangible sign that the president is moving toward a one-year postponement of the individual mandate, arguably the most controversial provision of the beleaguered Affordable Care Act reform. It also has added a new layer of complexity and problems for the insurance industry, which has been struggling to meet targets for enrolling Americans in new health plans ever since the disastrous launch of the technically flawed government websites Oct. 1 (Pianin and Ehley, 12/20).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Catastrophic Obamacare Policies Prove Hard Sell So Far
The Obama administration’s decision this week to allow people to buy catastrophic-level policies if their individual health plans had been canceled comes amid reports that few people have bought these less expensive policies sold in new online insurance marketplaces (Galewitz, 12/20).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Explaining Why Obama Let More People Buy Catastrophic Plans
KHN's Mary Agnes Carey was on PBS NewsHour Friday to talk about the administration’s plan to allow people with canceled health insurance plans buy so-called "catastrophic" plans, which are cheaper than ordinary plans but provide less coverage (Carey, 12/23).

Fox News: More Last-Minute Fixes To Obamacare To Avoid Net Loss Of Uninsured Americans By Jan. 1
The Obama administration's announcement this week that Americans with cancelled insurance can enroll in bare-bone ObamaCare coverage reflects its urgency to ensure that by January 1 the total number of people with polices doesn’t decrease and to avoid another black eye in implementing the law. The announcement Thursday was just one of several by administration officials this week that shows they are drawing closer to enrolling enough Americans to offset the estimated 4 million to 5 million who had their insurance cancelled because it failed to meet new standards in the president’s signature health care law (12/21).  

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.