KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Iowa Residents Wait To Hear If State’s Unique Plan For Insurance Markets Will Be Approved

The state is seeking a federal waiver to set up its own insurance marketplace, which officials said could offer better prices to consumers. But the change would also mean that customers could not get federal subsidies to help them defray costs. Also, news outlets report on marketplace news in Tennessee and California.

Des Moines Register: Iowa Health Insurance Market Is In Flux, Three Weeks Before Sign-Ups
[Glen] Gardner and tens of thousands of other Iowans are anxiously awaiting the outcome of last-minute negotiations over state regulators’ “stopgap” proposal to shore up Iowa’s health-insurance market. Iowans heard last week that President Donald Trump allegedly demanded his administrators reject the proposal, which would rewrite key rules of the Affordable Care Act. The president wants to repeal the law, also known as Obamacare. He has said Republican politicians should let Obamacare collapse in order to build support for the repeal effort. Just one carrier, Medica, plans to sell individual health-insurance policies in Iowa under current rules, which will remain in place if the state’s stopgap plan is rejected. Medica plans to raise its premiums by an average of nearly 58 percent. (Leys, 10/11)

Politico Pro: Iowa Democrats Request Trump Administration Records On Stalled Obamacare Waiver
The state Democratic Party filed a Freedom of Information Act request days after The Washington Post reported that Trump in August personally asked top health officials to turn down the plan after reading about it in The Wall Street Journal. Iowa officials have said their plan, which would rewrite major parts of Obamacare, is needed to prevent its individual insurance market from collapsing. (Pradhan, 10/11)

Nashville Tennessean: Vanderbilt Health Inks Deal To Be On 2018 ACA Exchange
Vanderbilt University Medical Center has worked out a contract with Cigna to be covered under individual health insurance plans in 2018. The contract means people in Davidson and eight surrounding counties will be able to see VUMC doctors in-network via the Cigna Connect plans. And, unlike in 2017, the plans covering the health system are eligible for tax credits for those who financially qualify. (Fletcher, 10/11)

California Healthline: California Slaps Surcharge On ACA Plans As Trump Remains Coy On Subsidies
California’s health exchange said Wednesday it has ordered insurers to add a surcharge to certain policies next year because the Trump administration has yet to commit to paying a key set of consumer subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The decision to impose a 12.4 percent surcharge on silver-level health plans in 2018 means the total premium increase for them will average nearly 25 percent, according to Covered California. Taxpayers, not consumers, will bear the brunt of the extra rate hike because federal premium assistance for policyholders, which is pegged to the cost of coverage, will also increase. (Terhune, 10/11)

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