CMS Report Details Stability Of Health Law Marketplaces, Undercutting Insurers’ Complaints
Insurers fired back, though, saying the report -- which showed costs remaining basically flat between the first two years of the Affordable Care Act -- was not reflective of what they have experienced.
The Wall Street Journal:
Obama Administration Counters Insurer View On Healthcare Law’s Costs
The Obama administration on Thursday issued a data analysis saying insurers’ costs for people who buy health-care coverage on their own remained essentially the same between the first and second years of the Affordable Care Act, partly because of a healthier mix of customers on exchanges created by the law. The analysis is one way the administration is seeking to counter insurers seeking substantial premium increases for 2017. Health insurers already have filed proposed rates for the year ahead with state regulators, and big plans across the country are seeking hefty premium increases because of what they say are substantial losses in the first few years of the law’s implementation. (Radnofsky, 8/11)
Feds: Early ObamaCare Data 'Encouraging'
That trend shows that more healthy people signed up for ObamaCare between its first enrollment period and its second, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which runs the federal marketplace. Still, the scope of the new report is limited: It covers only the enrollment periods ending in 2014 and 2015, when healthier people were already expected to sign up in greater numbers. (Ferris, 8/11)
Kaiser Health News:
Administration Paints Rosy Future For Obamacare Marketplaces
Aviva Aron-Dine, senior counselor to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, said the data was encouraging when many insurers have announced double-digit rate increases for 2017 and others have pulled back in some states to curtail financial losses. “What we take from this is that the marketplace is on sound footing,” she said in a phone briefing with reporters. She also said the sharp 2017 rate increases could be intended to help insurers compensate for underpricing their premiums in 2014 and 2015 and not the first in a series of large annual rate hikes. (Galewitz, 8/11)
The Associated Press:
Medicaid Estimate Renews Cost Concerns Over 'Obamacare'
A government report says the cost of expanding Medicaid to millions more low-income people is increasing faster than expected. That's raising questions about a vital part of President Barack Obama's health care law. The law called for the federal government to pay the entire cost of the Medicaid expansion from 2014 through the end of this year. (8/12)
Insurers Skeptical About Improvements In Exchange Risk Pool
The Obamacare risk pools are improving and stabilizing exactly as anticipated, HHS officials said Thursday, but insurers questioned the numbers underpinning the agency's claim. HHS's evidence: Medical costs fell 0.1 percent for exchange customers from 2014 to 2015. That was well below the medical cost growth of 3 percent in the broader insurance market. (Demko, 8.11)
Insurance premiums Up Slightly For Georgia Teachers, State Workers
Teachers, state employees and retirees on Georgia’s State Health Benefit Plan can expect a slight increase in their insurance premiums next year, although options in the program will remain relatively stable for many of the plan’s 650,000 members.The final 2017 rates for the $3 billion program were approved Thursday by the state Board of Community Health. They show that, on average, premiums will increase on average about 2.5 percent, depending on the plan and who is covered. (Torres, 8/11)