KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Look To Speed Shift Of High-Risk Pool Enrollees Into Exchanges

Meanwhile, the Associated Press checks on the status of the online insurance markets in the District of Columbia, New York, New Mexico and South Carolina.

Politico: States Rethink High-Risk Pools, Exchanges
When the health exchanges open next year, they will cover some of the sickest and costliest patients, people who cannot easily get insurance precisely because they are so likely to run up bills that no insurer would want to be on the hook for. The federal health law contains several measures designed to spread the risk and tamp down some of the expected turbulence in the market. But a recent change in how the Department of Health and Human Services plans to run a three-year, $20 billion fund — known as reinsurance — to cushion health plans that end up with lots of high-cost customers is forcing states to rethink their own timetable for shifting some of their highest-risk people into the exchanges (Norman, 1/29).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Questions And Answers About DC's Health Insurance Exchange
This fall, new insurance markets called exchanges will open in each state and the District of Columbia. A major component of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, exchanges are online markets where consumers can choose between private health plans similar to what workers at large corporations already get. The government will help many middle-class households pay their premiums. Here are some facts about the district's exchange (1/28).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Health Exchange Expects To Insure 1.1 Million
President Barack Obama's federal health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act, requires every state to have a new health insurance marketplace called an exchange. The exchange will be an online shopping center for small business and for people who don't get health coverage from their employer. Users will be able to compare the costs and benefits of various insurance plans, and they'll be able to find out whether they qualify for federal subsidies to help pay their premiums (1/28).

The Associated Press: A Look At New Mexico's Planned Insurance Exchange
New Mexico plans to establish a state-run health insurance exchange and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is taking steps to implement it this year (Massey, 1/28).

The Associated Press: A Look At The Federal Health Care Law In SC
New insurance markets called exchanges are set to open in each state this fall as part of the new federal health care law. They are meant to function as one-stop online marketplaces of private health policies offering consumers side-by-side comparisons (1/28).

In other health law implementation news -

The New York Times' Bucks Blog: Breast Pump Coverage Under New Law Varies In Practice
As part of its coverage of preventive health-care services for women, the Affordable Care Act requires many insurance plans to provide equipment and services to promote breast-feeding, like breast pumps and lactation counseling, at no extra cost. The requirement took effect last summer but kicked in for many plans on Jan. 1, the start of new insurance plan years for many employers (Carrns, 1/28).

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