KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

AARP Opposes Bill That Would Allow Insurers To Charge Older People More

The powerful seniors lobby says it cannot support proposals that would let premiums go higher for older beneficiaries. Meanwhile, the administration announces that a health program for low- and moderate-income people, which is optional for states, will not be able to start until 2015.

The Hill: AARP Slams Bill To Loosen Health Law's Rules On Age Rating
AARP pushed back Wednesday against proposals to let insurance companies charge higher premiums to older patients. The nation's largest seniors' lobby criticized proposals to change a provision in the Affordable Care Act that limits varying premiums based on age, or "age rating” (Baker, 2/6).

Kaiser Health News: Study: Premium Increases To Be Offset By Subsidies, Better Coverage
The paper says the law’s provision that limits premiums for older consumers to no more than three times what younger people pay will mean those younger beneficiaries, particularly men, will pay more than they do now. Older people and many women will see lower rates, the paper says (Appleby, 2/6).

Kaiser Health News: HHS Delays Basic Health Plan Option Until 2015
The Obama administration has delayed by one year the rollout of a health program aimed at low to moderate-income people who won’t qualify for the expanded Medicaid program under the federal health law (Galewitz, 2/7).

In other news about the implementation of the law --

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Utah Offers To Split Health Insurance Exchange
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Wednesday that he's made a new offer to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: His state will run half of a health insurance exchange, and let the federal government run the other half (Radnofsky, 2/6).

California Healthline: Higher Profile Coming To Exchange
California's health benefit exchange is nearing its move into the mainstream public spotlight -- but there is a lot of work still ahead, according to experts who gathered in Sacramento yesterday for a roundtable discussion of the exchange. ... Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) acknowledged that creation of the exchange has helped place California at the head of the health care reform pack, but he said that leadership role doesn't change the 2014 deadline that's looming for health care reform and the exchange (Gorn, 2/7).

California Healthline: Obamacare Will Bring Changes – And Walgreens Wants To Fill The Void
Two-hundred-and-fifty-nine organizations have been named Medicare accountable care organizations. Most were formed by hospitals. Some were launched by physician groups. And three were created by a pharmacy chain. Walgreens' move into shared savings is many things: unusual, eye-catching, a sign of the times. But it's not surprising, observers say, as the pharmacy chain has been cultivating a broader strategy to ramp up its role in frontline care. And through a handful of new programs, Walgreens already has "demonstrated ... the valuable role our pharmacists can play working with physicians to meet the triple aim" of improving patient outcomes and satisfaction while cutting health costs, spokesperson Jim Cohn told California Healthline (Diamond, 2/6).

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