KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Cost Of Health Plans Rise, But Health Law Only One Reason

News outlets report on rising health insurance premiums and how to reduce personal medical spending.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer: "Most Ohioans will face higher health insurance premiums starting in January -- with hikes ranging from 8 percent to 18 percent -- giving rise to fresh complaints about the White House-backed health care law. Yet industry and regulatory authorities say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bears only a small part of the blame in most cases. ... Insurers have to justify their increases to state regulators, and 'what we're seeing is that the federal reforms are generally raising the rates less than 5 percent,' said Doug Anderson, chief policy officer for the Ohio Department of Insurance. ... 'The other part of it is medical inflation and the continuing trend of rising health care costs.'" Other experts put the increase caused by the new health law is even lower, or closer to 1.5 percent to 3 percent (Koff, 10/20).

CNN: Employee contributions will continue to rise sharply this year "as companies continue to shift the burden of rising costs onto their workers. Employees' share of premiums for a family plan is up an average 14%, to $3,997, vs. just a 3% rise in the total bill, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And it's not just premiums that are spiraling higher. You're also likely to be hit with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums as well as bigger bills for doctor's visits and drugs." CNN offers several suggestions of how to keep personal medical spending down, including selecting the right insurance plan, taking advantage of cost savers for healthy behavior and negotiating with doctors (Andrews, 10/20).

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