KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Buying Obamacare Coverage Online May Require More Than Clicks

The Associated Press notes that shopping online for health insurance this fall may not be as easy as supporters have described since some tools may not be in place by Oct. 1. Meanwhile, Politico reports on warnings by Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, that consumers who misreport their income to qualify for insurance subsidies will have to pay them back the following year.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Getting Health Coverage Through Obama Law Not As Easy As Shopping On Travelocity Or Amazon
You may have heard that shopping for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will be like using Travelocity or Amazon. But many people will end up with something more mundane than online shopping, like a call to the help desk (7/26).

Politico: Michael Burgess Warns Of Obamacare Enrollment Fallout
Overeager Obamacare boosters could put the law’s first customers in a tight spot, a House Republican warned Thursday. The health law provides tax subsidies for people to purchase health insurance based on their projected income for the year. But if they earn more than projected, the law also requires them to return a portion of their subsidy. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) says that if Obamacare enrollment advocates push too hard to hit their targets, they could persuade a lot of people to claim subsidies only to have to pay them back at the end of the year (Cheney, 7/25).

CNN Money: Who Loses Out Under Obamacare
When the state-based insurance exchanges open next year under Obamacare, many Americans should finally have access to affordable insurance. But millions of others will most likely be left out in the cold and remain uninsured. These folks -- mainly low-income adults in the 21 states that aren't expanding Medicaid -- will not be eligible for either the long-standing government health insurance program for the poor, or for premium subsidies in the new exchanges (Luhby, 7/25).

Here's a sampling of state-based coverage regarding the online insurance marketplaces -

MPR News: Clocks Ticks Down To Start Of MNsure Exchange
The state health-insurance exchange known as MNsure is getting ready to begin operating on its mandated launch date of Oct. 1. On the way to meeting that date, MNsure staff have asked the federal government for $40 million more, on top of the $110 million the program has already received in federal funds. Minnesota is one of 17 states that have proceeded with plans to set up their own exchanges. Seven others have decided to establish exchanges in partnership with the federal government, but the majority — 27 states — have chosen not to act, meaning that the federal government will operate exchanges for them (7/25).

CT Mirror: New Insurer Lowers Proposed Rates For Obamacare Health Plans
HealthyCT, a new insurer, has significantly reduced what it’s proposing to charge customers who buy health plans through the new marketplace created by the federal health reform law. The new proposals would make the average rates offered by HealthyCT the lowest to be offered through the marketplace, known as Access Health CT. If approved, the average monthly cost for a HealthyCT plan for an individual would be $271, and the average for a small group would be $408, although those figures would vary considerably based on a person’s age, location and the specific plan selected (Becker, 7/25).

Oregonian: State Will Pay Groups To Help Small Businesses Get Health Coverage
The state will pay business associations to spread the word about changes in health coverage that are about to kick in. Cover Oregon, the state's health insurance marketplace, is offering $750,000 in grants to help small businesses learn about changes in health coverage and enrollment that start in October. The changes stem from the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare (Budnick, 7/25).

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