KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Doctors Tell White House About Their Health Law Concerns; New Insurance Regulations Raise Some Flags

At a meeting Tuesday, physician groups said they are worried that insurance plans on the health care website offer only limited networks of providers and cut reimbursement rates for doctors. Also, regulations released this week come under scrutiny.

The Wall Street Journal: Doctors: New Health Care Plans Raise Red Flags
Physicians groups told Obama administration officials Tuesday that they are worried that new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act offer only limited networks of providers and low reimbursement rates for doctors, and that could make it difficult for millions of those enrolled to actually get health care (Radnofsky, 11/26).

Reuters: U.S. Government Plan Adjusts 2014 Risk Payments For Health Insurers
The U.S. government has issued a proposal that would likely increase risk payments in 2014 to health insurers offering plans on the Obamacare exchanges after the companies complained a recent policy change allowing people to keep their insurance policies had changed the financial equation (11/26).

Fox News: Administration Accused Of Giving Unions 'Special Treatment' With Exemption From ObamaCare Fee
The Obama administration is being accused of giving labor groups "special treatment under the law" after formally proposing a change that could exempt union health plans from a pesky ObamaCare fee. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who flagged the obscure rule change after it was filed in the Federal Register (see page 70), blasted the exemption as "crony capitalism at its worst” (Berger, 11/26).

NPR: 3 Ways Obamacare Is Changing How A Hospital Cares For Patients
The Affordable Care Act is transforming more than health insurance. In hospitals around the country, the legislation could transform the way doctors and nurses actually care for patients. Part of the law is designed to rein in the nation's exploding health care costs by creating hundreds of little experiments that test new ways for hospitals to save money (Chow, 11/26).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Price Of Smoking Could Increase Under ACA
Depending on the plans they choose, smokers and other tobacco users who enroll in health insurance plans in Colorado could pay up to 15 percent more in premiums than nonsmokers.  But questions remain about whether they will be truthful when they sign up for plans and how they’ll know about the benefits their insurance offers if they want to quit. The federal law allows health insurance companies to charge tobacco users up to 50 percent more in premiums. But the law also requires that the surcharge be eliminated if tobacco users sign up for cessation counseling (Hoback, 11/26).

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