KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

For Regional Audiences, The Key Question Is What Will A New Policy Cost Here?

Local news outlets examine data released by the Obama administration to see the average rates that local consumers will pay for insurance on the new health marketplaces.

USA Today: Obama Health Care Report Hits Regional Audiences
When government officials release reports, they often do state-by-state or even city-by-city breakdowns -- often to attract better regional and local media coverage. The Obama administration has a hit with a new health care report, scoring front page stories in newspapers in Miami, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, and other cities (Jackson, 9/25).

Miami Herald: South Florida Insurance Rates Will Be Among Lowest In State, Report Says
Miami-Dade and Broward County residents who buy health insurance through federally run online marketplaces opening Tuesday will be paying some of the cheapest rates available in Florida, according to federal data released Wednesday. A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows how many insurance issuers will be offering plans in each county, what tiers those plans will be on and how much the average resident would pay before tax credits in certain tiers (Benn and Borns, 9/25). 

Tampa Bay Times: Obamacare Marketplace Premiums In Florida Lower Than Expected
Less than a week before the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces open for business, the federal government announced that average costs in Florida and other states will be lower than it once projected. The federal government says the national average monthly premium for a single person's midtier "silver" plan is $328 before tax credits. That's 16 percent lower than the Congressional Budget Office had originally estimated (Mitchell and Tillman, 9/25).

Health News Florida: FL Market Boasts 102 Plans
The sticker price for a benchmark health plan in Florida's online Marketplace will average $328 a month, far below the price that had been forecast, according to a federal report released early Wednesday. … While $328 may not sound affordable to a lot of people, most uninsured Floridians who use the exchange won't have to pay that much, HHS officials said. Tax credits will reduce the premiums for a majority of those enrolling, often cutting it by half or more (Gentry, 9/25).

Detroit Free Press: Policies On Michigan's Health Exchange To Cost Less Than Elsewhere
Michiganders shopping for insurance on the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace beginning next Tuesday will spend less than much of the country, a possible result of competition drawn to the state exchange. In Michigan, the lowest prices for three categories of policies, called bronze, silver and gold, all came in lower than the national average, according to a federal analysis released today (Erb, 9/25). 

Philadelphia Inquirer: U.S. Officials Share Specifics On Health Plans
The average monthly premium for the lowest-cost "bronze" individual plans will be $229 in Pennsylvania (among the lowest in the nation) and $333 in New Jersey (among the highest), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tax credits that are expected to apply to most purchasers would substantially lower rates in both states (Brubaker and Sapatkin, 9/25).

The Associated Press: Pa. Exchange To Offer Among Lowest-Cost Premiums
Pennsylvania residents who buy health insurance in the federally run online marketplace that opens next week will pay below the national average, and the state ranks 10th-lowest out of 47 for which data were available, according to figures released by the Obama administration Wednesday. The state average is $286 a month for a mid-range plan, not including out-of-pocket costs or tax credits that benefit lower-income families, the figures showed. That's below the $328 national average (Levy, 9/25). 

Arizona Republic: Arizonans' Costs Low Under New Health Law
For Arizona's lowest-cost middle-range "silver" plan, which pays 70 percent of medical costs, average premiums will cost $248 per month, compared with the national average of $310. Only four of 48 states had less-expensive average premiums for that plan. Arizona's second-least-expensive silver plan will cost $252, compared with a national average of $328. The least-expensive bronze plan in Arizona will charge an average premium of $214, compared with the national average of $249. Those average rates are before federal tax-credit subsidies are calculated (Alltucker, 9/25).

Chicago Tribune: Illinois Insurance Exchange Rates Lower Than U.S. Average
Illinois residents will pay slightly less than the national average for health insurance offered under President Barack Obama's health care law, according to rates released Tuesday by state and federal officials.The snapshot provides an early yet incomplete look at how much consumers might pay in premiums and comes a week before the launch of new insurance exchanges, the online marketplaces in which individuals, families and small businesses can compare and buy coverage, often with the help of federal tax credits (Frost, 9/25).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Obamacare Plan Premiums Unveiled For Wisconsin
The Obama administration released figures Wednesday suggesting that average premiums for health plans sold on the Wisconsin marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act may increase less than previously feared. The report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided the first information on premiums for the marketplace, or exchange, being set up by the federal government in Wisconsin (Boulton and Stein, 9/25).

The Oregonian: Oregon Health Coverage Hikes Show Two Sides Of New Law
It feels like rate shock for Oregonians whose health insurance plans don't meet new standards for minimum benefits. Instead, many are learning in the mail they'll be shifted to beefed-up plans that cost more (Budnick, 9/25).

St. Louis Beacon: Federal Officials Project Lower Premiums Under Health Insurance Marketplace In Missouri
Health policy analysts differ sharply on the conclusions of Wednesday's federal report, which says premiums in Missouri will be about 16 percent lower than previously projected for consumers eligible to buy their health insurance through the government-run marketplace or exchange on Oct. 1 (Joiner, 9/25). 

Georgia Health News: Feds Unveil Low Premiums On State Exchange
The average premium for the lowest-cost silver plan will be $304, and for the cheapest bronze plan it will be $265 in Georgia, lower than the national average. Those prices don't take into account the subsidies. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the prices of health insurance in the exchanges in Georgia and 35 other states where the exchanges are being run by the federal government. The exchanges are a key component of the Affordable Care Act in the Obama administration’s drive to have more uninsured gain coverage. Nineteen percent of Georgians currently have no health insurance (Miller, 9/25).

San Jose Mercury News: Obamacare: Californians Will Pay 10th Highest Rates In Country Under Health Exchange
The price of health insurance under Obamacare came sharply into focus Thursday, as Californians learned that they will pay the 10th-highest rates in the country for a mid-range policy. With less than a week to go until open enrollment begins on the new health-insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration published insurance premiums and plan choices for 26 states where the federal government is taking the lead to cover uninsured residents (Seipel, 9/26). 

St. Paul Pioneer Press: Minnesota's Health Exchange Premiums Lowest In Nation, Feds Say
Are premiums on Minnesota's new health insurance exchange the lowest of any rates that will be offered across the country? Yes, according to a new federal study. Maybe, according to health care experts. Absolutely! DFLers say. That's the wrong question! Republicans counter (Snowbeck, 9/25).

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