KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Insurers Plan 2015 Prices While Facing Many Unknowns

Health insurers are deciding whether to return to the same exchanges in 2015 and how much to charge for their policies, but many unknowns make that difficult. Among them is how many people will ultimately pay their first premiums to complete sign-ups -- so far, about 15 to 20 percent of enrollees have yet to do so, reports Politico. Four of five employers, meanwhile, report raising deductibles or considering doing so this year, according to a Mercer survey.

Reuters: Insurers Wary Of Obamacare Unknowns As They Plan For 2015
U.S. health insurers are struggling to set prices for their Obamacare plans in 2015 and decide which regions to return to before the deadlines for submitting those plans to regulators. Some insurers already expect to lose money this year following the rocky launch of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which aims to provide coverage to millions of uninsured Americans with the help of government subsidies (Humer, 3/12).

Politico: So How Many Have Paid ACA Premiums? 
The White House insists it doesn’t know how many people are fully enrolled in Obamacare, but insurers say they’ve handed over enough data to show that the sign-up numbers are not as rosy as federal officials say. The latest administration figures show that 4.2 million people have selected health plans in the new insurance markets. Insurance industry officials at four of the big national health plans tell POLITICO that about 15 to 20 percent of people who have signed up have not yet paid their first monthly premium — the final step to get coverage (Cheney, 3/13).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Employers See Negligible Increase In Workers Participating In Job-Based Coverage
Employers saw only a tiny increase in enrollment in their health insurance plans this year, even as key provisions of the health law — including a requirement that nearly all Americans carry coverage or face a fine — went into effect, a survey by benefit firm Mercer finds (Appleby, 3/12).

Bloomberg: Employers Raise U.S. Worker Deductibles To Cut Health Costs 
Four of five U.S. companies have raised deductibles or are considering doing so as health costs increase, according to a survey of more than 700 employers. About one-third of the companies have already increased deductibles or other cost-sharing provisions like copays, and 48 percent are considering similar moves, the survey by New York-based consulting firmMercer LLC found (Chen, 3/12).

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