Reports Warn Of New Costs, Gaps Unfilled In Health Overhaul
San Francisco Chronicle: Insurance rates may rise next year even more than anticipated because of the health overhaul for mid-sized companies. "While most major pieces of the new health law don't go into effect until 2014, some reforms affecting health insurance carriers take effect this year. These include provisions that require health plans to cover adult children until age 26, extend coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, end maximum lifetime spending limits and end the practice of retroactively canceling a member's coverage for any reason other than fraud." Some experts say those will add costs that will not be offset by savings the overhaul might generate in future years (Colliver, 8/9).
Modern Healthcare: Those and other consumer protections may help many policy holders, but experts say, "for low-income, chronically ill people, the law may not do enough, and upcoming regulations on benefits could significantly affect how much patients spend. For hospitals, which have seen more insured patients who struggle to pay medical bills, the push to expand insurance could bring with it newly underinsured people who are more likely than the insured to skip tests and medications and less likely to seek follow-up care or see a specialist" (Evans, 8/9).
CongressDaily: Meanwhile, "Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus has unveiled an alternative to an amendment to the small-business lending bill dealing with expanding 1099 tax reporting for small businesses, but the language has quickly drawn criticism from a leading small business organization." The health overhaul bill would have required small businesses to report purchases over $600, a threshold Baucus would increase to $5,000 (Leonatti, 8/6).
The Scranton Times-Tribune: Also, hospitals may have to find ways to make do with less under the overhaul. "Shrinking Medicare increases and a focus on improving quality and efficiency of health care services brought on by health care reform will likely lead to more collaboration among area hospitals in the coming years, officials said. In addition to extending health care coverage to more than 30 million Americans who are uninsured, the health care reform bill signed into law in March includes a number of changes that will affect the bottom line for hospitals around the country" (Nissley, 8/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.