Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
California legislators resume their work Monday after more than a month off. While the coronavirus pandemic has shifted the state’s priorities, many lawmakers say they still intend to push non-COVID health care bills to tax soda, ban vape flavors and more.
With most nonemergency procedures shelved for now, many health insurers are expected to see profits in the near term, but the longer view of how the coronavirus will affect them is far more complicated and could well impact what people pay for coverage next year.
Organized labor is divided over whether to support “Medicare for All.” Meanwhile, many of the Democratic presidential candidates seem unable to use the health issue to their advantage. Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call, Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, for extra credit, the panelists offer their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.
Although a new state tax penalty and state financial aid motivated people to sign up for health insurance this year, Covered California is reopening enrollment for those who said they weren’t aware of them.
Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state already has a public option: Covered California, the state health insurance exchange. While there is no single definition of a public option, some health care experts say that’s a stretch.
Californians must have health insurance starting next year or face a hefty tax penalty. But, as with the now-defunct federal tax penalty for being uninsured, some people will be exempt.
There’s something new in this year’s Covered California open-enrollment period: Consumers are learning whether they will qualify for new state-funded financial aid. The results are mixed, with some scoring hundreds of dollars per month and others nothing.
Come Jan. 1, California will be the first state to offer financial aid to middle-class people who make too much money to qualify for federal Obamacare tax credits. And Californians will once again owe a penalty if they are uninsured.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed off on an array of health care bills that will significantly affect the lives of Californians, including many college students, pregnant women, schoolchildren and dialysis patients.
States increasingly expect to see insurers enter or re-enter ACA marketplaces next year. That’s a critical sign that these exchanges are growing less risky for insurers despite ongoing political and legal battles over the ACA.
Premiums will grow by an average of 0.8% next year on the state health insurance exchange. Officials cite two new policies for the relatively low rate hike: a new state tax penalty on Californians who don’t have health insurance coupled with state-based tax credits to help enrollees afford their premiums, including middle-income people who make too much money to qualify for federal financial aid.
Even though the number of people renewing their Covered California health plans increased this year, new enrollment plunged by nearly a quarter compared with last year, posting a bigger drop than the federal health insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, which saw a 16 percent decrease. Officials largely blame the elimination of the federal tax penalty for people without insurance.
A new report shows that Hispanics, young people, the healthy and the poor — all groups with high rates of uninsurance before the Affordable Care Act — are the most likely to forgo insurance now that the tax penalty for not having it has been eliminated.
To keep costs down, Blue Shield of California next year will scale back on a program allowing members to receive a wide range of care beyond the state’s borders. Customers with individual plans mostly won’t be able to get coverage out of state except for emergencies or other exceptional circumstances.
As consumers weigh health insurance options during open enrollment, location matters. Some parts of the country are seeing drops in premiums while others are experiencing another year of sticker shock.