KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

The Final Push For Obamacare

News outlets report on the ambitious plans of a handful of health insurance co-ops starting from scratch after being funded by the law, how smokers may be charged higher premiums if they don't take cessation classes and the challenge of explaining the law in multiple languages.

Kaiser Health News: Obamacare Insurance Co-ops At The Starting Gate
They have rented offices and zero customers. All their capital is borrowed. They're trying to sign the kind of expensive, chronically ill individuals that insurers have avoided for decades. In three weeks they face mighty competitors with a hundred times the resources. But the 24 insurance-company startups created by the Affordable Care Act say they're ready to battle the establishment, stay in business and change health care (Hancock, 9/12).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Michigan Smoker May Face Penalty, Go Without Health Insurance Unless He Quits Long-Time Habit
The law requires insurers to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing medical problems. But it also allows them to charge smokers premiums that are up to 50 percent higher than those offered non-smokers -- a way for insurers to ward off bad risks (9/12).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Hard Time Understanding Health Reform Law? Try Figuring It Out In Tagalog, Hmong Or Vietnamese
Understanding the law is a challenge even for governors, state lawmakers and agency officials, but delivering its message to non-English speakers who can benefit from it is shaping up as a special complication. That is especially true in states with large and diverse immigrant populations (9/12).

The Associated Press: Key Consumer Questions About The Health Reforms 
How do I know whether "Obamacare" applies to me? Polls show many Americans remain mystified by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare" as it is commonly known. But there's an obvious starting point: Do you have health care coverage? If your employer provides health insurance for you, it's likely you don't have to do anything on Oct. 1, when enrollment begins. The president has said you will be able to keep your doctor and your plan (9/12).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Key Milestones – And Potholes – In President Barack Obama’s Health Care Overhaul Law
Medicare was signed into law on July 30, 1965, and within a year seniors were receiving coverage. President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, and the uninsured start getting coverage more than three years later on Jan. 1, 2014. Some key dates in the saga of Obama’s signature legislation (9/12).

The CT Mirror: Obamacare: Big Changes Ahead For Some In Connecticut 
Several key provisions of the federal health reform law known commonly as Obamacare are taking effect Jan. 1. For some people, like the uninsured, that will bring major changes. For many others, like those who get their insurance through their jobs, not much will change. Here’s a look at how various groups of people will be affected, what their insurance options are now and what choices they’ll have beginning in 2014 (Becker, 9/12).

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