KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Insurers Plan Double-Digit Health Exchange Premium Increases

The filings in Arizona and Connecticut are shedding light on what insurers might do elsewhere. News outlets also report on developments in Nevada and Maryland related to health exchange costs and coverage issues.

The Arizona Republic: Health Insurers Expected To Raise Rates For Next Year
More than 120,000 Arizona residents signed up for private health insurance during the first year of the Affordable Care Act's marketplace. But it's the second year that analysts will scrutinize, to see whether health insurers increase rates or discontinue selling plans over the federal exchange. New filings trickling into the Arizona Department of Insurance show at least two health insurers plan to increase rates more than 10 percent. Cigna wants to increase rates an average of 14.4 percent and Humana, 25.5 percent (Alltucker, 6/2).

The CT Mirror: Exchange Premiums Could Rise More Than 10 Percent Next Year
Two of the three insurers selling health plans through Connecticut’s exchange want to raise rates by more than 10 percent next year, according to proposals filed with the Connecticut Insurance Department. The rate proposals for the third company, HealthyCT, weren’t available from the department Monday night. (The company said it filed its proposals Monday morning.) Meanwhile, individuals who buy coverage through the exchange are likely to get a fourth option in 2015. UnitedHealthcare indicated in a filing with the insurance department that it intends to sell individual-market plans through Access Health CT, the state’s exchange (Becker, 6/3).

The Associated Press:  Confusion Likely As Nevada Switches From State To Federal Health Exchange
Switching to a federally supported state health exchange won't be immediate and will bring added confusion for Nevada consumers during the transition into next year's open enrollment period, an interim legislative committee was told Monday. As Nevada moves from a health exchange operated by Xerox, consumers will be faced with three different call centers depending on the type of transaction, said Steve Fisher, interim director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. Fisher added that while Nevada moved to terminate its contract with Xerox after months of persistent problems, the operator will continue to play a role in the health exchange through early next year (Chereb, 6/2).

The Washington Post: Anthony Brown Says He Should Have Taken Direct Role In Maryland Health Exchange Rollout
Democratic gubernatorial front-runner Anthony G. Brown said Monday that he should have taken a more direct role in overseeing Maryland’s online health insurance exchange, a project that turned out to be deeply flawed. Brown, the state’s lieutenant governor, made the remark during a spirited, hour-long debate with his two leading rivals that also included clashes over the candidates’ commitment to expanding pre-kindergarten education in coming years and the tax environment in the state (Wagner, 6/2).

Meanwhile, a new study pinpoints a boost in the number of people who purchased health insurance at the beginning of the year from sources outside the health law's online marketplaces --

The Hill:  Surge Reported In Sales Of Health Care Plans
The number of people who bought health insurance on their own outside of the Obamacare exchanges surged at the beginning of the year, according to a new report. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates between 3 million and 3.5 million new people signed up for health insurance either through insurance companies or brokers in March. It estimates a total of 15 million people now have individual insurance through the private market (Al-Faruque, 6/2).

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