KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicare Officals Back Away From Hard Line Stance On Insurers’ Warning Letters

The New York Times reports: "The Obama administration on Friday backed away from an order that had prohibited insurance companies from warning Medicare recipients about the possible loss of benefits under pending legislation to overhaul the health care system." A political storm storm was triggered last month when they tried to stop such communications. "Under new guidelines, insurance companies can communicate with Medicare beneficiaries on pending legislation, provided they do not use federal money to do so. In addition, insurers must get permission from beneficiaries before sending them information about legislation or asking them to join grass-roots advocacy efforts."

But also on Friday, "the Obama administration cited Humana ... for violation of Medicare rules, saying the company had misled beneficiaries by telling them they could lose valuable benefits under the legislation being pushed by President Obama and Democrats in Congress. The actions on Friday were the latest skirmish between the Obama administration and the insurance industry" (Pear, 10/16).
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