KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Who’s Signing Up On Exchanges, And What’s Available, Trigger Questions

News outlets report on health law implementation issues, such as an early indication that customers on the marketplace tend to be older and how that could impact insurance prices for everyone.    

The Wall Street Journal: Young Avoid New Health Plans
Insurers say the early buyers of health coverage on the nation's troubled new websites are older than expected so far, raising early concerns about the economics of the insurance marketplaces. If the trend continues, an older, more expensive set of customers could drive up prices for everyone, the insurers say, by forcing them to spread their costs around. "We need a broad range of people to make this work, and we're not seeing that right now," said Heather Thiltgen of Medical Mutual of Ohio, the state's largest insurer by individual customers. "We're seeing the population skewing older" (Weaver and Martin, 11/4).

The New York Times: Strategic Move Exempts Health Law From Broader U.S. Statute
The Affordable Care Act is the biggest new health care program in decades, but the Obama administration has ruled that neither the federal insurance exchange nor the federal subsidies paid to insurance companies on behalf of low-income people are "federal health care programs." The surprise decision, disclosed last week, exempts subsidized health insurance from a law that bans rebates, kickbacks, bribes and certain other financial arrangements in federal health programs, stripping law enforcement of a powerful tool used to fight fraud in other health care programs, like Medicare (Pear, 11/4).

CBS News: "Free" Health Insurance Under Obamacare Has Drawbacks
As many as 6 million people who are uninsured, and another million with individual plans, may qualify for "free" health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to recent analysis by several Wall Street firms and the consulting firm McKinsey. ... While the prospect of getting health insurance for "free" may sound appealing, it may not be the best way to go (Martin, 11/5).

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