KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Administration Simplifies Application For Health Insurance

After the first draft was criticized for its length, the administration made the new version shorter and simpler -- only three pages for a single person.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Responding To Critics, Obama Administration Unveils Simplified Health Insurance Application
The first draft was as mind-numbing and complex as tax forms. Now the Obama administration is unveiling a simplified application for health insurance benefits under the federal health care overhaul. Details to be released Tuesday include a three-page short form that single people can fill out, administration officials said. Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner, also overseeing the rollout of the health care law, called it "significantly shorter than industry standards" (4/30).

USA Today: New Health Insurance Form Now Down To Three Pages
A second form for families has been reduced by two-thirds, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. … An online version of the form will further shorten the application based on a person's answers, according to an HHS news release (Kennedy, 4/29).

The Hill: Officials Cut ObamaCare Application Form To Three Pages
The Obama administration will unveil a more simplified application for those seeking insurance under the president’s landmark healthcare reform law, after criticisms the initial forms were too complex. Reports said the new form, which will be previewed on Tuesday, would be three-pages long for individuals and seven pages for families, according to reports (Mali, 4/30).

On the topic of how much insurance coverage might cost in 2014 -

Oregonian: Oregon Insurers Filing 2014 Individual Health Policies; Sticker Shock Likely
If you buy your own health insurance, you're about to find out how your wallet could be affected next year by federal reforms. Today, about 17 insurers will finish filing more than two dozen separate policies and 2014 premium rate hikes for review by the state. While several early filings lack clear comparison to 2013 rates, one by Providence Health Plans shows how federal changes in the individual market could translate to the sticker shock insurers have predicted. Providence requests premium hikes of 53 percent for more than 8,000 policyholders who buy their own insurance (Budnick, 4/29).

Also in the news -

The New York Times: Next Big Challenge for Health Law: Carrying It Out
Among the complex imperatives: pushing reluctant states to set up insurance marketplaces and expand Medicaid programs, keeping an eye on insurance companies as they issue new rate schedules, measuring the law's effects on small-business hiring, and coaxing healthy young people to buy coverage so the system works economically for everyone else. Gail Wilensky, who ran Medicare and Medicaid under President George Bush and supports the new law, said that 2014, when the law will make it mandatory to have insurance, "is going to be quite a bumpy year" (Harwood, 4/29).

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