KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Californians Shaken By News Of Anthem’s Withdraw From Most Counties In State

“My wife and I came up with a new Covered California slogan,” quipped Santa Cruz County resident Chris Olsen. “Covered California: Nothing you can count on.” Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) says she doesn't understand the decision and is "deeply concerned" by it.

San Jose Mercury News: Bay Area Residents Worry About Anthem Blue Cross Exit
Anthem, which this year attracted 19 percent of the exchange’s 1.4 million enrollees, will only offer 2018 plans in Santa Clara County, five counties in the Central Valley, and 22 Northern California counties.​ Anthem’s decision to withdraw its health plans in California affects only the individual insurance market — both on and off the health-insurance exchange. (Seipel, 8/2)

KQED: Feinstein “Deeply Concerned” With Anthem Rollback Of Coverage
California Senator Dianne Feinstein said Wednesday that she was “deeply concerned” by Anthem Blue Cross’s decision to reduce individual health plan coverage for some 150,000 Californians. ...In an email to KQED, Anthem Blue Cross representatives said the shrinking individual market and changes in federal guidance were the reasons behind its decision to cover fewer Californians this year. (Klivans, 8/2)

California Healthline: Anthem’s Retreat Leaves Californians With Fewer Choices, More Worries
Bill Daitchman got some bad news this week: His insurer is breaking up with him. Daitchman and his wife, who own a graphic design business in Santa Cruz County, Calif., each pay $350 a month for a health insurance plan from Anthem Blue Cross on the Covered California exchange. But Anthem announced Tuesday it’s pulling out of most of the state’s individual markets, citing the uncertainty swirling around the Affordable Care Act. (Batolone, Gorman and Terhune, 8/2)

In marketplace news from other states —

New Hampshire Union Leader: Obamacare Rate Hikes Confirmed At 44 Percent Or Higher 
The federal government on Tuesday confirmed what many in New Hampshire have feared for months — premiums for individual health insurance policies sold on the Obamacare exchange at will rise by 44 percent or more for coverage in 2018. “Today’s news about rates is alarming, especially for the 94,000 New Hampshire residents who obtain their insurance through the individual market, but unfortunately, it does not come as a surprise,” Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny said. (Solomon, 8/2)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Obamacare Premiums Will Rise Steeply In Ohio In 2018, Filings Show
Ohio insurers want big premium hikes next year for individual health care policies in the Affordable Care Act market, with typical average increases of 20 percent or more. Their rate requests have not yet been granted, but federal and state filings show the extent of the hikes insurers say they want -- and need -- because of expectations of costs for medical care, prescription drugs and the premiums necessary to cover these and other expenses. (Koff, 8/2)

The CT Mirror: Access Health Scaling Back Storefronts But Seeks To Broaden Reach
Facing a shortened enrollment period, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange announced Wednesday it plans to scale back its two existing storefronts and redeploy resources to broaden its reach. ... The exchange is anxiously awaiting a critical decision from the White House that will influence whether the individual marketplace’s two insurers will offer plans again next year. (Constable, 8/2)

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