Early Results: Average 2015 Exchange Premiums Decline Slightly

KHN Original

This KHN story can be republished for free. (details) In preliminary but encouraging news for consumers and taxpayers, insurance filings show that average premiums will decline slightly next year in 16 major cities for a benchmark Obamacare plan. Prices for a benchmark “silver” or mid-priced plan sold through the health law’s online marketplaces aren’t all moving […]

Biggest Insurer Drops Caution, Embraces Obamacare

KHN Original

This KHN story can be republished for free. (details) UnitedHealthcare, the insurance giant that largely sat out the health law’s online marketplaces’ first year, said Thursday it may sell policies through the exchanges in nearly half the states next year. “We plan to grow next year as we expand our offering to as many as two […]

Employer Health Costs Forecast To Accelerate In 2015

KHN Original

Health costs will accelerate next year, but changes in how people buy care will help keep them from attaining the speed of several years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers says in a new report. The prediction, based on interviews and modeling, splits the difference between hopes that costs will stay tame and fears that they’re off to the […]

Obamacare Health Spending Surge? Not So Fast

KHN Original

A growing economy and an Obamacare spending surge, many suspected, had ended five years of moderate health-spending growth. Early government figures showed medical-cost acceleration at the beginning of the year. “Health care spending rose at the fastest pace since 1980 in the first quarter as the new health insurance law prompted many more Americans to […]

Study: Health Law Boosts Hospital Psych Care For Young Adults

KHN Original

Expanded coverage for young adults under the Affordable Care Act substantially raised inpatient hospital visits related to mental health, finds a new study by researchers at Indiana and Purdue universities. That looks like good news: Better access to care for a population with higher-than-average levels of mental illness that too often endangers them and people […]

Can Employers Dump Workers To Health Exchanges? Yes, For A Price

KHN Original

How to expand Americans’ health insurance choices under the Affordable Care Act without sabotaging employer coverage? The Obama administration is still working to get the balance right. The latest tweak from the Internal Revenue Service essentially prohibits employers from giving workers tax-free dollars to buy policies in the online public marketplaces created by the health law. […]

Study: Limited Competition Raised Obamacare Prices

KHN Original

Many insurers only dipped a toe into the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces for their first year. Cigna, one of the country’s largest insurers, offered 2014 plans to individuals in fewer than half a dozen states. Humana is only in a little more than a dozen states. The biggest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, didn’t offer any policies […]

WellPoint Softens Forecast For Obamacare Rate Hikes

KHN Original

Welcoming a surge of young, last-minute enrollees, the biggest player in the health law’s insurance marketplaces on Wednesday tempered its prediction for substantial 2015 rate increases. Five weeks ago WellPoint executive Ken Goulet told analysts that premium increases for 2015 plans “will probably be in double-digit plus.” On Wednesday’s conference call to discuss first-quarter results, […]