KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Rule Requires Insurers To Credit Health Law When Issuing Consumer Rebates

The rule, which was finalized Friday, will result in an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates for nearly 16 million Americans.

The Wall Street Journal: Insurers Must Credit Rebates To Health Law
Health-insurance companies must tell customers who get a premium rebate this summer that the check is the result of the Obama administration's health-care law, according to federal guidelines released Friday. The move is the latest sign the Obama administration is trying to draw attention to the law's benefits before the fall elections, even though the law faces an uncertain future (Radnofsky, 5/11).

The Hill: Report: Health Law Rule To Yield $1.3 Billion In Insurance Rebates
A rule created by the 2010 healthcare law and finalized Friday will yield about $1.3 billion in insurance rebates for nearly 16 million Americans, according to estimates by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The rule, known as the medical loss ratio (MLR), mandates that insurers spend roughly 80 percent of all premiums on healthcare rather than on marketing, executive bonuses or other administrative costs (Viebeck, 5/11).

Modern Healthcare: Insurers Must Also Report When They Do Meet MLR Target, Rule Says
The notice may be sent in the same mailing with other notices—and may be provided electronically—but it must be displayed in 14-point, bold type on the front of the plan document, insurance policy or certificate, or in a separate notice, the regulation noted (Zigmond, 5/11).

Related, from KHN: Final Rule Issued On Consumer Rebates And Notification (Appleby, 5/11)

Other health law implementation news includes reports that some states are dragging their feet on health exchanges, but members of Congress may find themselves using these marketplaces -

The Washington Post: Republican State Officials Stall On Setting Up Health Insurance Marketplaces
In about two dozen states across the country, the insurance marketplaces at the heart of the 2010 health-care law remain in limbo, with Republican governors or lawmakers who oppose the statute refusing to act until the Supreme Court decides its constitutionality (Aizenman, 5/12).

The Washington Post: As Maryland Goes Full Steam Ahead On Health Reform Law, Virginia Takes Pragmatic Path
Although deep-blue Maryland remains a leader among states enthusiastically preparing for the health-care overhaul, Republican-led Virginia is no longer the standard-bearer for “Obamacare” recalcitrance. ... Virginia has been grudgingly but diligently laying the foundation for a law that it hopes will go away (Vozzella, 5/12).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Congress May Get Tough Medicine From Health Bill
In one little-known feature of the law, however, members of Congress would have to leave the generous federal plan and obtain their coverage through online insurance exchanges, or markets, if the law is upheld. The law mandates the establishment of exchanges in each of the states as a means for consumers to shop for health coverage (Mondics, 5/13).

Also, the Post examined ways to meet the ACA's increased demand for health care -

The Washington Post: Nurse Practitioners Look To Fill Gap With Expected Spike In Demand For Health Services
President Obama's health-care law is expected to expand health insurance to 32 million Americans over the next decade. Health policy experts anticipate that the wave of new insurance subscribers will lead to a spike in demand for medical services (Kliff, 5/13).

Lastly, the Los Angeles Times revisits the Solicitor General's year -

Los Angeles Times: Healthcare Case Capped A Rough Year For Solicitor General
His worst moment came as he rose to defend President Obama's healthcare law and its requirement that all Americans have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. His voice sounding weak, Verrilli paused after his second sentence and coughed (Savage, 5/12).

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