KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Officials, State Workers Criticize Different Health Coverage Rate Hikes In California

The increases are largely set to hit small businesses, individual plans and long-term care coverage.

Los Angeles Times: Blue Shield And Aetna To Raise Health Care Rates Over State Objections
Officials at the California Department of Managed Health Care said increases that average more than 11 percent for about 47,000 individual and small-business policyholders of Blue Shield and Aetna were unreasonable. But state officials don't have the authority to reject changes in premiums, and increasingly health insurers refuse state demands to lower rates (Terhune, 3/6).

Sacramento Bee: State Worker: CalPERS Insurance Rate Hike Upsets Employees
The recent CalPERS sign-off on an 85 percent premium hike for its most-costly long-term care insurance policies sparked more than 100 calls and emails to The State Worker. Here are some of the most common themes: How can they do this? They can't afford otherwise. The $3.6 billion privately funded pot of money is too small to cover higher-end policies and hold down premiums for those plans. Nursing home care claims and similar services have run higher than expected. Meanwhile, the California Public Employees' Retirement System's investments have taken a beating (Ortiz, 3/6).

In the meantime, the state's proposed partnership with Wal-Mart to help enroll people in new coverage comes under scrutiny --

Los Angeles Times: Covered California's Plan To Partner With Wal-Mart Is Criticized
California officials face mounting criticism from union leaders over plans to let retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. enroll shoppers in President Obama's health care expansion. The state wants employees at Wal-Mart and other retailers to help consumers learn about their options and assist them in buying federally subsidized private insurance (Terhune, 3/7).

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