KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Insurers Struggling To Meet Health Law’s Shifting Deadlines

The administration's effort to stretch the enrollment period after the botched rollout of the website has complicated efforts by insurers and left some consumers concerned about their coverage.

Reuters: Insurers Wary Of New Obamacare Fix For January Health Plans
Insurance companies are struggling with a new request by the Obama administration to make sure people receive medical benefits under healthcare reform come January 1, even if they miss a sign-up deadline set for next Monday. The government has sought to reassure consumers, already frustrated by technical problems that stalled access to its enrollment website in October and November, that those who need coverage starting on New Year's Day will be able to sign up (Humer and Krauskopf, 12/18).

USA Today: Insurers, Consumers Await HHS Guidance As Deadline Looms
Some frustrated consumers are sending premium payments to insurers who have never heard of them. Others say they will pass up federal subsidies and pay full price through insurers, while still others have given up altogether on the promise of health insurance by Jan. 1. Consternation and confusion over applications sent through the federal website continue into the last seven days before the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline. Consumers with health issues are particularly nervous about the prospect of not having insurance at the start of the new year (O'Donnell, 12/17).

Fox News: Obamacare 'Fix' One Month Later: Are People Still Covered?
Nearly six million people have had their coverage cancelled since the ACA became [law] because their plans failed to meet the required essential health benefit guidelines, which provide coverage for things like maternity care and ambulatory services. Now, consumers in states that have opted to extend previously-cancelled coverage have to decide if they want their old plans back or fine a new one. Under the Affordable Care Act, every person in the country must have insurance by the end of open enrollment period on April 1 or will face a penalty of up to $95 a year, or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher. The administration announced last Thursday that insurance companies would be required to accept premium payments for those who want coverage starting on Jan. 1, until Dec. 31 (Rogers, 12/17).

Los Angeles Times: Fewer Than 20% Of Blue Shield Customers Extend Health Coverage
Given the choice, fewer than 20 percent of Blue Shield of California customers with canceled policies opted for a three-month extension of their current health plans. The San Francisco insurer said about 15,000 policyholders out of 80,000 who were affected chose to keep their health plans until March 31 (Terhune, 12/17).

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