KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Employers Continue To Offer ‘Skinny’ Plans

Even though the Obama administration will not enforce the mandate requiring large employers to offer coverage for another year, some companies still plan to offer so-called "skinny," or limited benefit plans -- and the federal government will permit them, according to Politico. Other reports look at the growth in part-time jobs and whether that is a result of the health care law.

Politico: ACA Penalties Spawn 'Skinny' Plans
Employers heaved a sigh of relief when the Obama administration announced it would not enforce Obamacare's mandate that large companies provide insurance to their workers next year. But some companies plan to offer "skinny plans" designed to duck the biggest penalties anyway, according to industry consultants. And the Obama administration has extended its blessing to this limited coverage, even though it would not protect individuals from medical bills that could cause financial ruin in the case of severe injury or illness (Norman, 7/16).

The Associated Press: Health Insurers Fear Young People Will Opt Out
Dan Lopez rarely gets sick and hasn’t been to a doctor in 10 years, so buying health insurance feels like a waste of money. Even after the federal health overhaul takes full effect next year, the 24-year-old said he will probably decide to pay the $100 penalty for those who skirt the law’s requirement that all Americans purchase coverage (Kennedy, 7/15).

The New York Times' Well Blog: Health Insurance Within Reach
Ever since Marci Lieber, a part-time social worker in Brooklyn, learned she was pregnant, she and her husband have been scrambling to find health insurance. But insurers consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition, and won't sell anyone a new policy that covers it. That changes on Jan. 1, 2014, when insurers will no longer be permitted to deny coverage of pre-existing conditions — and all Americans will be required to have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Lieber, 37, hopes to purchase a policy through New York State's new health exchange as early as this October (Rabin, 7/15).

Fiscal Times/ Obamacare: The Part-Time, Low-Wage Job Creator
This year, the leisure and hospitality industry has been adding the lion's share of new jobs to the U.S. economy. Since April, hotels, restaurants, bars, and other leisure businesses have created an average of 50,000 jobs a month, double the rate from 2012, and more than any other industry. In June, 75,000 of the 195,000 new jobs created in the entire economy were cooks, waiters, bartenders, etc. Traditionally, a booming leisure industry points to a healthy economy: When people have more money to spend and confidence in their jobs, they treat themselves to more food, drinks, and vacations. But that's probably not what's happening here. The Wall Street Journal says many of the new jobs are part-time, which could be a direct reaction to ObamaCare (7/15).

PBS NewsHour: Austin Musicians Find Unique Solution For Affordable Health Care (Video)
Country, rock, punk, soul. Regardless of genre, two things once united most musicians in Austin, Texas: a lack of health insurance and income averaging less than $16,000 per year. Ray Suarez reports on a how an unusual health alliance keeps artists' health care costs low so they can keep playing (7/15).

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