KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Insurers’ State Filings Offer Signals About The 2015 Marketplace

The Wall Street Journal, using Molina Healthcare Inc. as an example because the company is proposing to lower customers' rates, notes that insurers that were conservative in their 2014 pricing may feel pressure in the year ahead. News outlets also report on the rebates that companies turned over to consumers in addition to the narrow-network phenomenon.     

The Wall Street Journal: A Washington State Health Insurer Plans To Cut Rates In 2015
An insurer in Washington state selling plans under the Affordable Care Act is proposing to lower customers' health premiums next year in what appears to be one of the first such decreases proposed for 2015. The proposal by Molina Healthcare Inc. was part of a batch of state rate filings released Monday that included Washington and Indiana. While most carriers are seeking increases, Molina's filing signals that insurers that priced cautiously for 2014 could face pressure to be more competitive in the second full year of the law's insurance marketplaces (Radnofsky, 5/12).

The Hill:  Insurers Give $1.5B In Rebates Under Obamacare
Insurance companies returned over $1.5 billion in rebates to consumers between 2011 and 2012, according to a report issued on Tuesday. The reason is an Obamacare requirement meant to force companies to spend a higher proportion of premiums on medical costs or quality improvement (Al-Furuque).

The New York Times: More Insured, But The Choices Are Narrowing
In the midst of all the turmoil in health care these days, one thing is becoming clear: No matter what kind of health plan consumers choose, they will find fewer doctors and hospitals in their network -- or pay much more for the privilege of going to any provider they want. These so-called narrow networks, featuring limited groups of providers, have made a big entrance on the newly created state insurance exchanges, where they are a common feature in many of the plans. While the sizes of the networks vary considerably, many plans now exclude at least some large hospitals or doctors’ groups. Smaller networks are also becoming more common in health care coverage offered by employers and in private Medicare Advantage plan (Abelson, 5/12).

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