KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Consumers Beware: Cheaper Insurance Policies Mean Higher Deductibles

Bloomberg News reports that consumers buying cheap insurance in the new health insurance marketplaces may face sticker shock if they get sick next year because of deductibles that can top $6,000 a person. Meanwhile, news outlets in Oregon and Massachusetts report on website glitches that continue to make enrollment in those states difficult.

Bloomberg: Obamacare Deductibles 26% Higher Make Cheap Rates A Risk
Americans seeking cheap insurance on the Obamacare health exchanges may be in for sticker shock if they get sick next year, as consumers trade lower premiums for out-of-pocket costs that can top $6,000 a person. Expenses for some policies can reach $6,350 for a single person and $12,700 per family, the most allowed by the health-care law, according to a survey by HealthPocket Inc. of seven states, including California and Ohio. That’s 26 percent higher than the average deductible in the seven states, and a scenario likely repeated across the country, said Kev Coleman, head of research and data at Sunnyvale, California-based HealthPocket (Nussbaum, 11/15).

The Oregonian: Cover Oregon: Health Exchange Board Puts Director Rocky King On Notice Over Stalled Website
The board of Oregon's semi-functioning health exchange sent a stern message to the head of Cover Oregon on Thursday, demanding clear information of when its semi-functioning website will work and precisely how Rocky King and his staff intend to get people enrolled by Jan. 1. The resolutions putting the exchange's executive director on notice occurred after a sometimes tense meeting in Northeast Portland where members of the board expressed strong displeasure with the shifting timelines on the project, as well as distrust of the health exchange's main information technology contractor, Oracle (Budnick, 11/14).

WBUR: Web Glitches Snarl Health Insurance Enrollment In Mass.
Frustrated Massachusetts residents who think they’ll qualify for subsidized health insurance or hope to continue a subsidized plan are posting similar stories to the Connector’s Facebook page. The Connector staff is posting occasional apologies and on Thursday laid out the problems for the agency’s board. “Things aren’t perfect,” said Scott Devonshire, the Connector’s chief information officer. “Obviously we’re having some issues on the site right now.” ... the state has not been able to process any applications yet, because the federal interface that’s supposed to verify an applicant’s income and some other factors isn’t working (Bebinger, 11/14).

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