KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Efforts To Implement The Health Law, Delays Stack Up

Recent news coverage has focused on a delay until 2015 for the overhaul's provision that limits out-of-pocket costs for some patients.

Bloomberg: Consumer Cost Protection In Obama Health Plan Is Delayed
Federal regulators have delayed a consumer protection in President Barack Obama's signature health law that limits the out-of-pocket costs of people with insurance. The one-year postponement of the annual limit on costs that patients must pay above what their insurance covers is another setback for a health care law that has met resistance from Republicans and faced delays in enforcement of other key provisions (Dorning, 8/13).

NPR: Obama Delays Implementing Another Part Of Affordable Care Act
The Obama administration has delayed implementation of another part of Affordable Care Act -- this time, it's the rules aimed at limiting out-of-pocket costs for patients (Varney, 8/14). This story was done in partnership with Kaiser Health News. In addition, KHN's Julie Appleby was featured on WBUR's Here and Now to discuss the delay (8/13).

KHN's earlier, related coverage: Consumer Groups Fear Patients Could Be Hit With Large Out-Of-Pocket Costs (Appleby, 4/9) and Federal Rule Allows Higher Out-Of-Pocket Spending For One Year (Andrews, 6/11).

Los Angeles Times: Federal Officials Delay Another Health-Law Provision For Employers
In another delay for the federal health care law, some employers will have until 2015 to comply with new limits on out-of-pocket medical spending for consumers. Federal regulators notified group health plans earlier this year that some would have an extra year to meet the new rules instead of January 2014 as originally proposed (Terhune, 8/13).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Delays Starting To Pile Up
Republicans opposed to the health care overhaul have had scant luck in overturning or delaying the law, but corporate America has succeeded in persuading the Obama administration to temporarily postpone a growing number of its provisions. In February, the administration delayed part of a requirement that some employer health-insurance plans cap employees' out-of-pocket costs (Schatz, 8/13).

The Washington Post's Wonk Blog: Four Ways To Understand The Latest Obamacare Delay
There's a rule in Obamacare that limits out-of-pocket costs -- including deductibles and co-payments -- to $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. Sounds simple enough. But when the Obama administration went to implement the rule, it found it wasn't going to be that easy. Some insurers and employers lack the capacity to keep track of an individual's out-of-pocket health costs. They often use different companies to administer medical benefits and pharmaceutical benefits -- and those companies' computer systems don't speak to each other. Implementing the rule would require upgrading those systems -- and that takes time (Klein, 8/13).

CBS: Key Consumer Protection In Obamacare Delayed
The Obama administration has quietly delayed another key element of the Affordable Care Act, the New York Times reported Tuesday, exempting some insurers for a year from the new limit on out-of-pocket expenses. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, explicitly set annual limits -- $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for a family -- on out-of-pocket expenses. Mr. Obama touted the reform as one of the many consumer protections his sweeping health care law would include to make insurance more affordable (Condon, 8/13).

CQ HealthBeat: Out-Of-Pocket Health Spending Caps Start In 2014 With Limited Exceptions, Administration Says
The Obama administration emphasized Tuesday that a wide swath of American consumers will benefit in 2014 from first-ever federal limits on how much health insurers can require their policyholders to pay out of pocket for medical expenses, as the White House attempted to fend off a new flurry of Republican attacks on its implementation of the health law (Reichard, 8/13).

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