KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Take Cautious Approach To Health Law’s New Coverage Mandates

Politico Pro reports that states are waiting to "get greater clarity" on the federal benefit package in order to minimize the extra coverage costs for which they might ultimately be responsible.

Politico Pro: States Slow Down On Benefit Mandates
As the health policy world waits for HHS to decide the new "floor" for health coverage, some states are taking a cautious approach to new coverage mandates until they get greater clarity on the federal benefit package. That's because states will be on the hook for any added cost to the federal government — starting in 2014 — if they require coverage that goes beyond the so-called package of essential health benefits that will be outlined by HHS. That package will help define the health insurance that will have to be offered through the new health insurance exchanges, and federal subsidies will be available to help people buy the coverage. If states require insurers to offer extra benefits, though, they’ll have to pay the extra costs (Millman, 10/20).

In other health law implementation news, more analysis regarding the CLASS Act's ending —

Politico: CLASS Act's Demise Is Mourned By Backers
The death of health reform's long-term care insurance program was so unceremonious that its supporters — among the Obama administration's closest allies on health issues — got about 30 minutes' notice of the funeral (Norman, 10/19).

HealthyCal: With CLASS Out, Future Clouded For Long-Term Care
Now that the Obama Administration's effort to offer government-sponsored, long-term health care insurance has crashed, it's unclear whether any viable path exists to prod more Americans into recognizing the need for such coverage – and to buy it — as they grow older and more prone to debilitating illnesses.  ... Advocates of CLASS are not giving up. LeadingAge, a coalition of 5,600 non-profit groups focused on aging issues, is sponsoring a telephone campaign this week in support of CLASS aimed at the White House and HHS (Sample, 10/19).

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