KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

NAIC Offers States Ways To ‘Mitigate’ Expected Premium Increases

Also in the news, a report from concluded that the vast majority of Americans don't know when they can start signing up for health exchanges.

The New York Times: Paper Offers Options On Limiting Higher Health Rates
State regulators are looking for ways to protect consumers against increases in health insurance rates that they expect to occur next year as major provisions of the new health care law take effect. A paper drafted by a panel of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners analyzes steps that states can take to "mitigate expected premium increases" (Pear, 4/4).

Marketplace: When Can You Join A Health Insurance Exchange? Few Know.
A new report by finds 90 percent of Americans don’t know they can start signing up for insurance through health exchanges in October. The exchanges are websites that let people compare and buy insurance. The exchanges are also one of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed three years ago. By the end of 2013, people will have to join a plan to avoid penalties. "We want to make sure we do what can to inform consumers and give them the education that they need to make the right decisions," says Laura Adams, with, which compares insurance rates for consumers (Carter, 4/4).

Other media outlets report on insurers' efforts to avoid some health law rules set to kick in next year-

Kaiser Health News: Insurers' Efforts To Delay Health Law Compliance Could Affect Premiums, Benefits For Millions
Regulators in several states are trying to prevent insurers from getting around the health law by extending potentially cheaper, but more limited policies for another year, but other states are giving the firms leeway to do so. The insurers' actions could affect the cost of health insurance and scope of benefits for millions of people who buy their own policies rather than getting them through their jobs. If enough relatively healthy people hold onto their old policies, the practice also has the potential to drive up insurance costs for those buying coverage in new online insurance marketplaces beginning next year (Appleby, 4/5).  

Huffington Post: Aetna Seeks To Avoid Obamacare Rules Next Year
One of the largest health insurance companies in the United States is advising insurance brokers on how to evade new mandates and benefits set to take effect next year under President Barack Obama's health care reform law. In an email sent to brokers, the insurance giant Aetna explains how they can renew customers' current health plans before Jan. 1, a strategy the Los Angeles Times reported this week is under consideration at other big health insurance companies (Young, 4/4). 

HealthBeat examines congressional reaction to the administration's decision to delay the health law's Small Business Health Options Program.

CQ HealthBeat: Delay On Choice In SHOP Exchanges Arouses Bipartisan Worry On The Hill
Members of Congress from both parties are signaling their unhappiness with a proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services to put off for a year a requirement that workers at small businesses in the exchanges be offered a smorgasbord of competing health plans. But as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services works to ramp up a huge infrastructure for exchange enrollment beginning Oct. 1, CMS officials' comments in the proposed rule indicate they feel there's only so much they and insurers can manage in the first year of exchange operation in 2014 (Norman, 4/5).

And a proposed rule is released on tax-exempt hospitals and community needs assessments.

Modern Healthcare: Proposed Rule Offers Leeway On Community Needs Assessments
Tax-exempt hospitals that must conduct community needs assessments under the health reform law would get some leeway from penalties for minor missteps and got clarification about how to satisfy new rules under new draft regulations from the Obama administration. Julie Trocchio, senior director of community benefits and continuing care for the Catholic Health Association, said the trade group's membership welcomes the latitude to collaborate on needs assessments. She said the proposed rule appears to emphasize transparency and allows providers some welcome flexibility (Evans and Blesch, 4/4).

Meanwhile, in Kansas -

Kansas Health Institute: Report: Nearly 255,000 Kansans To Be Eligible For ACA Tax Credits
Nearly 255,000 Kansans will be eligible for tax credits to help purchase health insurance next year, according to a report released today. The credits are part of the Affordable Care Act, major provisions of which take effect Jan. 1, 2014 (Ranney, 4/4).

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