KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tax Forms To Include Health Insurance Cost Info — Per Health Law Requirement

Today's headlines also include coverage of other health law issues, such as student health plans and the health care workforce.

The New York Times: To Open Eyes, W-2s List Cost Of Providing A Health Plan
As workers open their W-2 forms this month, many will see a new box with information on the total cost of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. To some, it will be a surprise, perhaps even a shock. Workers often have little idea how much they and their employers are paying for coverage. ... The new information appears in Box 12 of the standard W-2 form, with a two-letter code, DD. The box shows the “cost of employer-sponsored health coverage.” And that amount is not taxable (Pear, 1/29).

Politico: The Invisible Health-Care Panel
A panel charged with helping devise solutions to the nation's health care workforce crisis is having a workforce crisis of its own: It hasn't been funded, and it's never met. Created by Congress nearly three years ago under the health care law, the panelists were appointed, but that's about as far as it has gone. The lack of action was noted at a hearing Tuesday of a subcommittee of the Senate Special Committee on Aging (Cheney, 1/30).

CQ Healthbeat: Shortage Of Primary Care Doctors Seen As A Problem For Health Care Law
Congress should consider increased payments and other ways to bolster the primary care physician workforce before next year’s expansion of health care insurance coverage, witnesses told a Senate panel Tuesday. The current shortage of primary care physicians will only increase as an estimated 30 million people join the ranks of the insured under the 2010 health care overhaul the witnesses said (Ethridge, 1/29).

Kaiser Health News: Q&A: Contraception Coverage Under The Health Law 
Consumer columnist Michelle Andrews answers a reader's question about the health law's provision on no-cost birth control (Andrews, 1/30).

San Francisco Chronicle: Obamacare Loophole Threatens UC Students
Life was great for Kenya Wheeler in the spring of 2011. He'd just enrolled in a UC Berkeley master's program in city planning and had won a research position that would pay his fees. ... A year later, a cancer diagnosis had changed everything. Wheeler, 38, had so many medical bills that he reached the $400,000 limit allowed by his UC student health plan. … Health care limits like the one imposed by UC are already illegal under the sweeping federal health-care law - dubbed Obamacare - that takes full effect next Jan. 1. But the health care act does not apply to "self-funded" college plans like UC's (Asimov and Colliver, 1/29).

Earlier, related KHN coverage: College Health Plans: Exploring The Options (Torres, 6/18/2012).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.