First Edition: November 10, 2010
Today's headlines include new survey results regarding employers' and the insurance coverage they provide to employees, as well as more details on health insurance open season.
Health Law Or No, Most Businesses Likely To Keep Offering Insurance
Kaiser Health News' Amita Parashar reports: "One of the most fundamental ideas in the new health law is that employers should offer health insurance to their workers, or else they would have to pay a penalty, beginning in 2014. The fear has been that many businesses would opt for "or else," leaving their workers searching for coverage. But a new survey of more than 2,800 employers, conducted by the benefits consulting firm Mercer, found no big reason to worry" (Kaiser Health News).
Health Insurance Open Season Questions? Here Are Some Answers
With open season in full gear for many workers, Michelle Andrews, who writes a weekly column for Kaiser Health News on health insurance issues, answered questions submitted online by readers of The Washington Post Tuesday. What follows are some of the questions and answers (The Washington Post/Kaiser Health News).
GOP Investigators Take Aim At Health Care Overhaul
Republicans plan to use the investigative powers of Congress to go after President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, and they're focusing on questions uppermost in the minds of consumers: What's it going to cost me? Can I keep the coverage I have if I like it? (The Associated Press).
Mitch McConnell To Back Health-Care Suit
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform law (Politico).
Health Rules Are Waived More Often
As Obama administration officials put into place some of the new rules that go into effect under the federal health care law, they are issuing more waivers to try to prevent some insurers and employers from dropping coverage and also promising to modify other rules because many of the existing policies would not meet new standards (The New York Times).
Some Companies Shift Health Costs To Better-Paid
With health care costs climbing even higher during this enrollment season, more employers are adopting a tiered system to pass on the bulk of those costs to their employees by assigning bigger contributions to workers in top salary brackets and offering some relief to workers who make less money (The New York Times).
Case Against Blue Cross Shows Difficulty Of Cutting Health Costs
As health care costs soared nationally, a small Michigan firm gave Ford Motor Co. a proposal to cut its physical therapy costs. The automaker signed up for an in-state pilot program, which was so successful Ford expanded it last year to cover about 390,000 employees, retirees and their families nationwide (USA Today).
PhRMA Spends Quietly In Midterms
The drug industry spent at least $25 million protecting its friends in Congress this year, but PhRMA chief John Castellani doesn't really want to talk about it (Politico).
GE Boosts Outlook For Health Business
General Electric Co. sounded a more optimistic note for its health-care business Tuesday, raising its projection for profit growth to 10% a year as emerging markets such as China spend more on medical equipment (The Wall Street Journal).
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