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September 16, 2014

Posts in "Insurance"

September 16, 2014

Survey Records Lower Level of Uninsured

An objective of the 2010 health care overhaul law, which began offering subsidized insurance coverage starting on Jan. 1, is the reduction of the number of uninsured persons. Details released today from an annual federal survey from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics records a decrease in the uninsured rate from 20.4 to 18.4 percent for the first three months of 2014. The study pegs the total uninsured level at 41 million and 55.5 million uninsured for at least part of 2013. The largest decrease in uninsured levels was recorded for adults aged 19-25.

The survey does not directly attribute the change in uninsured levels to the health care overhaul law. Also, the estimate tallies 3.7 million covered by health insurance exchange plans purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges through March, which contrasts with the administration’s enrollment estimate of over 8 million. However, the timing of the survey likely excluded late enrollment that stretched through April.



September 12, 2014

Will Recent Data Breaches Scare Consumers Away from

This summer a test server behind the website was infiltrated by an alien computer code, or malware. The Department of Health and Human Services notified Congress last week on the security breach and said the infected server did not contain personal information. However, the event, combined with other recent consumer site data breaches, call into question how consumers will react to the site when the new open enrollment period begins on Nov. 15.  A House committee next week plans to quiz administration officials over the recent security breach and the exchange website security concerns.

CQ HealthBeat’s (@CQHealthTweet) John Reichard inquired on Thursday about any administration concerns about negative consumer reaction to the recent reports of security breaches. Former White House health reform adviser Chris Jennings commented:

I doubt the White House is losing too much sleep over this particular issue, though the commitment to privacy and security should be and I think is always there. Re-enrolling the current covered population and targeting the harder to reach folks are much higher on the list.




By Paul Jenks Posted at 10:33 a.m.

September 11, 2014

Worker Premiums Ease But Deductibles Soar

Employer sponsored health insurance premiums are rising but increases in employee deductibles are soaring. The annual survey report on employer health coverage issued this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation notes that premiums have increased only 3 percent in 2014 but employee deductibles have increased 47 percent since 2009. On average a covered employee must pay $1,217 this year before their health costs are covered.

CQ HealthBeat’s (@CQHealthTweet) John Reichard reported Wednesday that the impact of new benefit requirements of the 2010 health care overhaul law are only slowly being reflected in premiums as plans are gradually adapting the health law’s new coverage requirements. Additionally, higher deductible levels entice covered employees to pay attention to health care costs.

By Paul Jenks Posted at 10:20 a.m.

July 25, 2014

Bipartisan Health Bills: Medical Leave, Congressional Plans and Chronic Care Coverage

Despite bitter congressional wrangling over the health care overhaul law and health spending priorities, several bills introduced this week suggest there is some bipartisan consensus on health care issues.

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New Tax Forms Released for Documenting Health Coverage

The IRS has fleshed out new reporting requirements stemming from the Affordable Care Act, including instructions for how taxpayers should calculate penalties if they fail to purchase insurance.

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July 24, 2014

$330 Million in Premium Rebate Checks Are Coming

The Department of Health and Human Services today highlights one of the dividends stemming from the 2010 health care overhaul. HHS this morning announced the tally of this year’s consumer health insurance premium rebates.

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By Paul Jenks Posted at 9:06 a.m.

July 23, 2014

Today’s Spotlight: Fraudulent Insurance Subsidies

A House Ways and Means oversight panel this morning examines the process for applying for the health care overhaul’s premium tax credits. The insurance subsidies are at the center of two contrasting court decisions released on Tuesday from court panels in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va.

This hearing, however, isn’t about the legality of the subsidies themselves — it’s about cases where people may have fraudulently attained such benefits.

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July 22, 2014

Separate Appeals Court Validates Subsidies

In a dueling series of federal appellate court rulings today, a separate decision from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled that tax subsidies for health plans  are allowed for both state and federally operated exchanges.

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White House Responds to Court Decision on 2010 Overhaul (Video)

The White House press spokesman Josh Earnest today responded to federal appeals court panel ruling that health care overhaul law subsidies only apply to insurance exchanges formally established by the states.  The White House insists its legal case will prevail and anticipates the Department of Justice will ask the full court to review the decision.

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July 21, 2014

Virgin Islands’ Exemption From Health Care Law Prompts Alaska Plea

murkowski 088 0501314 445x296 Virgin Islands Exemption From Health Care Law Prompts Alaska Plea

Murkowski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last week, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner released a letter to a Virgin Islands official releasing U.S. territories from insurance requirements mandated by the 2010 health care overhaul law. On Friday, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski weighed in the matter.

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By Paul Jenks Posted at 1:55 p.m.

July 18, 2014

Workweek Threshold Bill in House Gets Adjusted Estimate From CBO

House Republicans have led a long effort to repeal or at least change elements of the 2010 health care overhaul law. Earlier this year, amid concerns about unemployment, the House passed a bill that would adjust the workweek threshold for employer-sponsored health care coverage.

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By Paul Jenks Posted at 11:15 a.m.

July 17, 2014

Report Wonders: Where is the Patient Deluge?

One of the most widely accepted expectations of both proponents and opponents of the 2010 health care law was that health care utilization rates would increase as newly insured persons sought treatment options. However, a report this week from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Athena Health Research does not show a deluge in new patients.

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July 16, 2014

Today’s Spotlight: Premium Subsidy Verification

A House Energy and Commerce panel today examines the income verification process for health plan premium subsidies.  Problems with the verification system became apparent in news reports published in May and the committee is mulling recent reports from the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general on problems with early planning and insufficient controls on the troubled subsidy verification process. Full story

July 15, 2014

IRS’s Role in Health Care Law Is Targeted in House Spending Bill

The House today continues amendment votes on the fiscal 2015 Financial Services spending bill. Health care proposals in the legislation focus on the more than 40 provisions in the 2010 health care law that task the IRS with verifying consumer health insurance exchange subsidies, administering premium tax credits and enforcing the individual and employer health coverage mandates.

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New Rules, Busy Times for Congressional Research Service

The Congressional Research Service is charged with keeping lawmakers apprised of the details of legislative matters and procedures. One of its biggest jobs right now, without a doubt, is tracking the implementation of the 2010 health care law.

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