KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study Predicts 30% Premium Increase For Some Californians Who Buy Their Own Insurance

The increases, prompted by the federal health law, will be offset for many people by new federal tax subsidies, the report suggests.

Los Angeles Times: Healthcare Law Could Raise Premiums 30% For Some Californians
About 5 million Californians got a first glimpse at what they might pay next year under the federal healthcare law. For many, that coverage will come with a hefty price tag. Compared with what individual policies cost now, premiums are expected to rise an average of 30% for many middle-income residents who don't get their insurance through their employers (Terhune, 3/28).

The Wall Street Journal: Insurance Prices Could Jump
Premiums for California consumers who buy their own insurance could be sharply higher next year on average because of the federal health-care law, while government subsidies will offset the impact for lower-income people, according to a new report. The report, written by actuarial consulting firm Milliman for Covered California, the agency created by the state government to set up its new health-insurance marketplace, is likely to draw close attention amid a broader debate over the law's effect on insurance rates (Wilde Mathews, 3/28).

The New York Times: Health Care Law Will Raise Some Premiums, Study Says
A study commissioned by the State of California says that the new federal health care law will drive up individual insurance premiums, but that subsidies will offset most of the increase for low-income people. The study, issued Thursday in the midst of a growing national debate over the impact of the law, is significant because California is far ahead of most states in setting up a competitive marketplace, or exchange, where people can buy insurance this fall (Pear, 3/28).

The Associated Press: Study: Some Health Premiums To Rise By 14 Percent
Californians who buy individual health plans will see their premiums increase an average of 14 percent next year under the Affordable Care Act, but payments will largely depend on income, age and where they live, according to a new report released Thursday by California's health care exchange. The report commissioned by Covered California found the increase is largely due to an influx of people who previously could not afford health insurance or were denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions (Lin, 3/28).

San Jose Mercury News: Health Insurance Premiums To Drop Dramatically For Many Californians, Rise For Others Next Year, Study Reveals
Nearly 600,000 Californians who buy health insurance on the individual market will likely see their premium costs plummet dramatically next year when the state unveils its new insurance marketplace, while more than 1 million wealthier residents could see double-digit increases. For the first time, state health leaders on Thursday outlined how consumers will be affected by one of the main features of President Barack Obama's national health reform law: the online insurance exchange, known as Covered California, which will open in October (Kleffmam, 3/28).

Meanwhile, in another look at the effects of the health law on taxpayers --

Kaiser Health News: Obamacare Is No Stumbling Block For Taxpayers This Year
Done your taxes yet? If you haven't, you might be feeling a little extra anxiety this year if you've seen this ad from H&R Block. Meg Sutton, H&R Block's senior advisor for tax and health care services, offered some details on what the big changes are (Whitney, 3/29).

And the Oregonian examines efforts there to be ready for implementation of the law --

The Oregonian: Oregon's Ambitious Health Insurance Marketplace Races To Meet Federal Reform Deadlines
When the phones in Rocky King's offices went on the blink last week, he wasn't bothered. Better now than in six months, when his $300-million project -- which you've likely never heard of -- must come out of the gates without a hitch. It's called Cover Oregon, a key to federal health reforms that kick in Jan. 1, 2014, and it could soon become a part of your life. King directs a team designing a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to comparison-shop between health insurance plans, and to tap federal tax credits and other assistance. Deadlines loom and controlled chaos reigns inside the team's red brick offices near Tigard's Bridgeport Village shopping center (Budnick, 3/28).

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