KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Small Insurers Play Larger Role In Health Exchanges

Media outlets examine the rise of small insurers in the new online health insurance marketplaces, the expected increases in physician demand and the importance of enrolling young people to balance the costs of caring for those who are older and sicker.

Marketplace: The Rise Of The Small Insurer
L.A. Care is a health plan provider located on the 10th floor of a high rise in downtown Los Angeles. It only offers plans to low-income individuals through Medicare and Medicaid. But starting today, anyone can buy private insurance form L.A Care. They expect to sign up 20,000 new customers in the first month. And that's just in L.A. County. Howard Kahn, the CEO of L.A. Care expects an increase in annual revenue of $60-80 million from new customers. Nationwide, 7 million people are expected purchase health insurance through the state exchanges. And dozens of small companies are offering plans. More than a quarter of insurers are new to the private insurance market. So why would some of the nation's largest companies decide not to compete for these new customers? "The fear is that you will only get sick people," says Kahn. "And that doesn't work. The problem with the current market is they only let healthy people in. ... You want a blend" (Weinberg, 10/1).

CBS News: Obamacare Marketplaces Raise Data Security Concerns
As more health-related data is digitized, "the privacy violations are going to be incalculable," Jim Pyles, an expert in health law who co-founded the law firm Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville, told Health data breaches are far from just an Obamacare issue. Doctors, health administrators and their business associates already regularly handle personal information, like a patient's address, date of birth, Social Security number, prescription information and medical history. Since 2009 -- when the Health and Human Services Department started requiring reporting on data breaches -- about 27 million people have been impacted by major breaches of unencrypted health data (Condon, 10/2).

The Baltimore Sun: Getting Young People To Embrace Health Reform
Young people often criticized as whiny, entitled and irresponsible, may now have the most clout in one of the biggest overhauls of the country's health system ever. Enrollment in President Barack Obama's landmark health reform plan began this week and particular interest is being paid to the country's 19 million uninsured young people, who range in age 18 to 34 and are viewed as key to the legislation's success (Walker, 10/2).

The Fiscal Times: Why Divorce Attorneys Will Love Obamacare
Someone in the White House thinks marriage is a bad idea. Earlier this year, TFT showed that a high-earning couple, each with incomes of $400,000, would save about $27,000 annually if they divorced and filed their taxes separately. Now we learn that the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, is dangling a similar fate in front of middle income earners (Leo, 10/2).

The Hill: Delay Of ObamaCare's Employer Mandate Draws Legal Challenge
The Obama administration broke the law when officials decided to delay a crucial provision of the president's signature healthcare law, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court. The lawsuit, filed by the conservative group Judicial Watch on behalf of an orthodontist from Florida, seeks to block a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) employer mandate (Goad, 10/1).

Fox News: Physicians Prepare To Deal With Increased Demand, Strain On Practices Under ObamaCare
As enrollment in ObamaCare begins, physicians throughout the country are preparing to deal with an influx of newly insured patients – as well as the increased financial demands this will place on their practices. While it will take a few years for doctors to fully determine how they will be affected by ObamaCare, some physicians are already anticipating the need to make major changes to the way they run their practices (Woerner, 10/1).

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