KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Early Numbers Show Lagging Enrollment Of Young Adults

A Reuters analysis of data from October and November for the District of Columbia and seven states running their own insurance marketplaces indicates that 18- to 34-year-olds were a smaller percentage of enrollees than had been projected. Also in the news, a look at how small businesses and student health plans are faring under the law.

Reuters: Obamacare May Get Sick if Young Americans Don't Sign Up
Data from seven states and the District of Columbia, which are running their own marketplaces, show that of more than 200,000 enrollees, nearly 22 percent are 18 to 34 years old, according to a Reuters analysis. The administration had hoped that over 38 percent, or 2.7 million, of all enrollees in 2014 would be 18 to 35 years old, based on a Congressional Budget Office estimate that 7 million people would sign up by the end of March (Krauskopf, 1/12).

The Washington Post: Second Wave Of Health-Insurance Disruption Affects Small Businesses
When millions of health-insurance plans were canceled last fall, the Obama administration tried to be reassuring, saying the terminations affected only the small minority of Americans who bought individual policies. But according to industry analysts, insurers and state regulators, the disruption will be far greater, potentially affecting millions of people who receive insurance through small employers by the end of 2014 (Cha, 1/11).

USA Today: Student Health Plans Forced To Adapt To ACA Requirements
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most young Americans can stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26 — a shift in law that has extended health coverage to more than 3.1 million people, according to the Obama administration. But many college and graduate students — either by choice or because their parents lack coverage — are still enrolling in university-sponsored health care plans, which have been forced to adapt or discontinue with the gradual implementation of the ACA over the past few years (Dame, 1/11).

Meanwhile, the Obama administration responds to employers' challenges to the overhaul's contraception coverage mandate -  

Politico: Administration: Birth Control Doesn’t Directly Violate Company’s Religious Rights
The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most employers provide contraception in their health plans, even if a company’s owners have religious objections. In arguments filed late Friday, Justice Department lawyers told the court that an employer’s religious beliefs aren’t a legitimate reason to deny something as important as preventive care to an employee who is entitled to it under the health law (Haberkorn, 1/11).

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