KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Spin Battle Over Obamacare Premiums Continues

Kaiser Health News offers five pointers to help you make sense of contradictory headlines about how much insurance could cost you when the Affordable Care Act marketplaces open for enrollment in October. Meanwhile, other media report on states' projections of what premiums may cost in the online marketplaces next year.

Kaiser Health News: Five Things To Know About Obamacare Premiums: A Guide For The Perplexed
Premiums will skyrocket next year! Premiums will be lower than expected! Premiums will be about the same! Consumers are understandably confused after weeks of conflicting pronouncements about the expected cost of plans, for individuals and small groups, to be sold in new online insurance marketplaces under the federal health law beginning Oct. 1. … "Premiums across states vary a whole lot less than the spin does," said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy research organization (Appleby, 8/1).

Los Angeles Times: Health Insurance Rates For California's Small Businesses Unveiled
California's small businesses next year will have a range of competitively priced options offered by a new state government health insurance exchange. The agency, Covered California, unveiled its portfolio of policy options for smaller businesses Thursday. They include both health maintenance organizations and preferred provider networks and will be available in all parts of the state as of Jan. 1 (Lifsher, 8/1).

Politico: Ohio Becomes Latest Battleground In Obamacare Premium Wars
The fight over Obamacare premiums has a new home base: Ohio. Customers in the key swing state can expect to pay 41 percent more on average for individual health insurance coverage next year because of Obamacare, according to projections released by the state's Republican insurance commissioner Thursday (Millman, 8/2).

Dallas Morning News: Prices Under Wraps As Texas Health Coverage Marketplace Takes Shape
In October, a federal health insurance market is coming to Texas under the auspices of Obamacare. If you don’t have health coverage, you need to check it out. What’s it going to cost? Health insurance premiums overall are likely to go up. So will  benefits. Subsidies will be available to most of those expected to shop on the new exchange. The actual plans and costs, however, are still under wraps (Landers and Garrett, 8/1). 

Health News Florida: State Releases Rates In Solo Market
Two big changes are coming to the individual market, where consumers pay their own way without help from employers.  The first: Companies can no longer screen out customers who may have health risks, or exclude coverage for certain conditions or body parts. The second follows from the first: Premiums will go up sharply for those who buy their own policies, about 30 to 40 percent (Gentry, 8/2).

The Seattle Times: Obamacare: What It Will Cost Here
For some people, individual insurance plans offered through Washington's new online exchange marketplace may cost more than those available now, but they will cover much more, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said Thursday.  And although people in some counties will have limited choices, as they do now, in most counties the 31 new plans available from four companies will offer a wide range of premiums and cost-sharing options (Ostrom, 8/2).

Georgia Health News: State Grudgingly OKs Insurance Rates For Exchange 
Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said Thursday that federal officials did not respond to his request for an extension in the deadline for approving rates in the upcoming state insurance exchange. Wednesday was the deadline. Because he didn't get a response in his request for more time, Hudgens said, he was left "with no viable option" but to approve the premiums submitted by health insurers (Miller, 8/1).

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