KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Regulators Still Grappling With Uncertainty As Deadline To File Rate Proposals For 2018 Arrives

Some states are preparing to file alternative premiums for different scenarios while others are holding off on a final decision. In other marketplace news, Anthem plans to scale back coverage in Missouri, consumers brace for double-digit increases and Utah is stuck paying $10 million to cover debts from an insurance company created under the health law.

The Wall Street Journal: Deadline Looms For Insurers To File Rate Proposals
A deadline for insurers to file 2018 prices for health insurance sold through Affordable Care Act exchanges arrives Tuesday, but state regulators are still struggling to make decisions about pricing and coverage amid uncertainty in federal health policy. The upshot is confusion in what is typically an orderly, regimented regulatory process for reviewing insurance offerings that will go on sale to consumers on Nov. 1. (Wilde Mathews, 9/4)

KCUR: Obamacare Premiums Mixed For Kansas Consumers, While Missouri Rates Climb 
The Affordable Care Act marketplace will be a mixed bag for Kansas consumers seeking health insurance for 2018. Some will pay more for coverage, some less. And some will purchase new plans for which there is no price-point comparison. In Missouri, insurers are proposing some hefty rate hikes. The Kansas Insurance Department said the “range of average rate revisions” for individual and small-group plans on and off the ACA marketplace will be from 8.8 percent lower to 29 percent higher. That means that some consumers could see premium increases of more than 29 percent, but it’s impossible to say how many, said Julie Holmes, the department’s director of health and life insurance. (Mclean and Smith, 9/1)

The Associated Press: Utah To Pay $10 Million To Cover Failed Obamacare Insurer’s Debts
Utah’s state government will pay $10 million to health providers to cover debts left behind by an insurance company that was created to offer plans under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act but closed its doors in 2015. The Utah Insurance Department will pay the amount over the next six months to help diminish the debt of unpaid claims from Arches Health Plan. (9/3)

Meanwhile, the decision to gut the advertising budget for health law enrollment faces blow back —

The Hill: ObamaCare Advocates: Hole Too Deep To Make Up Outreach Cuts 
ObamaCare advocates said there is no way to fill the void left by the Trump administration’s decision to slash 90 percent of funding for enrollment outreach for the health law, potentially creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. “There’s no way outside nonprofit organizations like ours can make up for the significant resource loss that will occur by virtue of this decision,” Craig Obey, deputy executive director of Families USA, said in an email to The Hill. (Weixel, 9/4)

Nashville Tennessean: CMS Cuts Open Enrollment Funding, Leaving Tennessee's Fate Unclear
The decision from federal officials to slash funding to state organizations that help people enroll in health insurance took Tennessee's largest grant recipient by surprise, and left it with little information about what to expect. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday it would reduce national grant funding from 2017's $62.5 million to $36.8 million for the 2018 grant year. (Fletcher, 9/1)

The Hill: Ex-Medicare Chief Promotes ObamaCare Enrollment On Twitter After Trump Cuts Outreach Funding 
Former President Obama’s former head of Medicare and Medicaid took to Twitter Friday to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act after it was announced President Trump was cutting outreach funding for the program. “Trump decided not to inform people of ACA open enrollment in order to sink it,” Andy Slavitt tweeted Friday. “That's not the only option. RT here if you will help spread.” (Carter, 9/2)

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