KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Widely Varying Drug Costs In New Health Plans

The Wall Street Journal explores out-of-pocket drug costs in plans offered on the health law's exchanges. Other stories probe so called "aggregation rules" that could affect some small businesses and the law's potential impact on safety-net hospitals and clinics.

The Wall Street Journal: Drug-Cost Surprises Lurk Inside New Health Plans
Americans with chronic illnesses—who are expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of the health law—face widely varying out-of-pocket drug costs that could be obscured on the new insurance exchanges. Under the law, patients can't be denied coverage due to existing conditions or charged higher rates than healthier peers. The law also sets an annual out-of-pocket maximum of up to $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families, after which insurers pay the full tab (Beck, 12/4).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Small Businesses Say ACA’s Aggregation Rules Unfair
Donna Baker of Adrian, Mich., owns an accounting firm, payroll company and retail store. Her husband, Kim, is the sixth generation owner of a dairy farm. While the four businesses are separate entities, they count as one employer under the health-care law due to a technicality ... which means they would be required to offer health-insurance benefits to their combined full-time staff — if it reaches 50 employees — starting in 2015, or pay a penalty (Needleman, 12/4).

Marketplace: How Post-ACA Health Care Is Like The Airline Business
Cooper University Hospital is expecting a huge wave of patients starting next month, as millions of consumers get health insurance, some for the first time. The question for hospital executives in Camden, and around the country, is how to manage this new population. For one, there is a chance this new patient population will exacerbate existing problems at Cooper (Gorenstein, 12/5).


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