KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Administration Offers Fix For Consumers Tangled Up In Health Exchange Flaws

Late last week, the Obama administration announced that some people who, because of technical issues, sought health coverage through the private market -- not the health law's online insurance marketplaces -- would still be able to get tax subsidies.

The New York Times: New Health Fix Offers Subsidies For Insurance Policies Bought Outside Exchanges
The sudden shift was the latest in a series of policy changes, extensions and clarifications by federal officials trying to help beneficiaries and minimize political damage to Democrats in this election year. Federal officials said they had agreed to provide such assistance retroactively because technical problems had prevented consumers from using online exchanges to obtain insurance and financial aid in some states (Pear, 2/28).

The Wall Street Journal: Tax Credit Still Available To Some State Health-Exchange Users
The Obama administration said consumers who have had trouble enrolling in health insurance in states running their own exchange could still be eligible for tax credits to help pay for the insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidelines to states late Thursday allowing them to retroactively apply federal tax credits to certain consumers who tried to sign up for insurance but have gotten stuck in state systems (Corbett Dooren, 2/28).

The Washington Post: Government Expands Help For Buying Health Insurance
In states with dysfunctional insurance marketplaces, the government will for the first time help pay for certain health plans that consumers buy on their own. And once people in those states are able to sign up through the exchanges, their insurance can be made retroactive. These rewritten rules, laid out in a three-page memo, can be used by any state but are aimed primarily at helping people in Maryland and three other states whose exchanges have not been working well. The four states are among 14 that have each created an insurance marketplace under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Goldstein and Johnson, 2/28).

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