KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obamacare Deductibles, Not Premiums, Cause Sticker Shock

A PwC study finds that insurance premiums for policies sold in new online insurance marketplaces are comparable to, or lower than, those for employer-based policies. However, the deductibles are higher in many cases. Other stories examine how the White House is pushing delivery system changes, such as the creation of ACOs, and how implementation delays could affect the IRS.

The Fiscal Times: Obamacare Sticker Shock Found In Deductibles, Not Premiums
Despite concerns that Obamacare would cause the price of insurance premiums to skyrocket, a new study found that they are either lower or comparable for similar employer-based policies. However, consumers may still experience sticker shock from Obamacare’s pricey deductibles. According to a report released by PwC’s Health Research Institute, insurance premiums on the new health exchanges are cheaper than those paid by the majority of Americans who have employer-based coverage—partly because of high deductibles (Ehley, 2/3).

MedPage Today: White House To Push ACOs, Other New Models
The Obama administration in 2014 will "double down" on delivery system reform efforts such as the further proliferation of accountable care organizations (ACOs), a White House health policy adviser said Monday (Pittman, 2/3).

Politico Pro: Obamacare Delays Could Challenge IRS Customer Service Role
The Internal Revenue Service could be in a bind if the Obama administration continues to tinker with its signature legislative achievement by delaying Obamacare provisions, a watchdog report released Monday found. The agency is on track with preparing for an expected onslaught of new queries about the law, but the IRS could face “challenges” if any more key provisions are delayed, the audit from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax said. “Changes in the implementation of ACA tax provisions can result in increased demand for customer service assistance resulting in more contacts with the IRS,” the report said (French, 2/3).

ABC News: Avoid These 4 Obamacare Mistakes
Signing up for Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance coverage may feel a little bit like competing in the Olympics. First, you’ll navigate a slippery slope of data, complete a mountain of paperwork, and finally choose Bronze, Silver, or Gold coverage. You might want to stand on a little box and hum the national anthem when you’re done. To avoid the “agony of defeat,” here are four costly mistakes you’ll want to avoid (Pratini, 2/4).

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