Health Reform Implementation: Insurance Options, States And Exchanges, ACOs
Provisions of the health law that have already been implemented will change next year's insurance offerings -- so employees should pay attention to their options during open season, U.S. News & World Report writes. "You may be able to take advantage of some benefits that kicked in over the past few months under the new health reform law. If the Affordable Care Act stands as passed, insurance exchanges offering health plans to all will open for business in 2014. In the meantime, insurance companies have been forced to rectify some 'unfair practices,' such as denying coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions and setting lifetime limits on benefits" (Kotz, 10/28).
Meanwhile, states have their hands full in figuring out how to approach "one of the most expensive and technologically complex" parts of the law, Politico reports. "The legislation requires by 2014 that all states have health insurance exchanges, or portals similar to Travelocity or Orbitz, where consumers can compare insurance plans and purchase coverage. They're designed to make it easier for small businesses or individuals to buy coverage and figure out if they qualify for the health reform law's tax credits or other state assistance, such as Medicaid." States are saying the project is "an enormous undertaking" (Haberkorn, 10/29).
And, on the provider side, one health provision has drawn a lot of attention: Accountable Care Organizations, according to the National Journal. Now, provider lobbyists are asking for more leeway to qualify in the new program in a letter to officials. "The Federation of American Hospitals, an organization representing nearly 1,000 for-profit hospitals, sent the letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Federal Trade Commission today, following a meeting held this month to examine how ACOs could coordinate care among hospitals and physician practices in a given region without monopolizing a market (McCarthy, 10/28).
Related, earlier KHN story: Health Care Interests Push To Make ACOs Pay Off For Them (Galewitz and Gold, 10/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.