KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Tips For Shopping On New Obamacare Exchanges

Media outlets offer guides to the uninsured and to those who buy their own coverage on the eve of the startup of new online marketplaces under the federal health law. The marketplaces, which launch Oct. 1., are designed to allow millions of people to shop for insurance and to find out whether they qualify for tax credits to buy private insurance, or an expanded Medicaid program.

NPR: Insurance Exchange 101: Here's What You Need To Know
The Affordable Care Act has been through two years of legislative wrangling, a presidential election and a Supreme Court test that took it to the brink. Now, after yet another round of debate and argument, major pieces of the federal health law are expected to kick in Tuesday. If all goes as planned, people who don't have insurance or who buy it on their own will be able to shop online or at various locations in their communities for coverage that will take effect Jan. 1 (Rovner, 9/30).

USA Today: Exchanges Open Tuesday: Here's What To Do
Don't wait. But don't hurry either. That's the best approach to the new health insurance exchanges that are scheduled to open for business Tuesday. Buying insurance is supposed to be easier than ever once several provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect this fall. That doesn't mean the process is easy or should be done speedily, however, experts say. That's especially true if insurance shopping is new to you (O'Donnell and McGinnis, 9/29).

The Wall Street Journal: What Does New Health Law Mean For Me?
The rollout of the Affordable Care Act—also known as "Obamacare"—is approaching, and starting in October people will be able to sign up for new insurance policies that begin Jan. 1, when the law's major provisions are set to go into effect. Here's what you need to know about whether and how the law affects you (Radnofsky, 9/29).

Tampa Bay Times: Q&A: Medicare And The Marketplace
Health policy experts and advocates have worried for months that older and disabled Americans who get their insurance through Medicare could get swept up in all the talk about the new Obamacare marketplaces. Though myths about Medicare have featured prominently in the health care debate, the fact is that the marketplaces have virtually no impact on how older and disabled Americans will buy their insurance (Sutton, 9/29).

ABC News: Best Tips For Finding The Most Affordable Plan In Your State’s Health Exchange
On Oct. 1, Americans can start shopping for health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. Use this guide to understand the basics every health insurance shopper needs to know (LaMontagne, 9/30).

The Oregonian: Oregonians See Health Reform Wrinkles Emerge As Enrollment Begins
Even families pulling down decent money -- as much as $94,000 for a household of four -- likely qualify for tax credits, credits that could result in paying less next year than they do now. The whole system under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- better known these days as Obamacare -- is based on income and the ability of individuals to pay (Budnick, 9/28).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Exchanges Start As Questions Abound: Health Q & A
Obamacare’s insurance exchanges debut tomorrow and so far the run-up has looked a lot like a political campaign, with dueling TV ads, door-knocking volunteers and a focus on swing-state targets. Just don’t expect the usual ending to an election: a clear winner at the end of the day (Nussbaum, 9/30).

Miami Herald: What You Should Know Before Buying Insurance Online Tuesday
It’s the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obamacare. And it’s finally arriving this week. On Tuesday, millions of people in Florida and across the United States will, for the first time, be able to log online and comparison-shop for individual health insurance coverage under the new federal law. Here are 10 things to know before the federal Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces go live (Benn, 9/28).

The Denver Post: You’ve Heard Change Is Coming With Obamacare; What Happens Next?
Key elements of the much-debated Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, launch on Oct. 1. Are you ready? State insurance exchanges and the Medicaid expansion — the two main ways the new health-care law will extend health care to more Americans — will open for business (Booth, 9/30).

The Oregonian: New Health Law’s ‘Family Penalty’ Has Employees, Employers Mulling Change
On Jan.1, new Affordable Care Act rules allow employees to tap tax credits if their company plan is "unaffordable," meaning it costs 9.5 percent of income, or more. The catch? That calculation is based on employee-only coverage and doesn't include family members. If the employee coverage is affordable, but the dependent cost is more expensive, it creates the glitch. As long as a company offers to cover an employee's spouse and children, no matter how expensive it is, the spouse and child won't be allowed to tap the tax credits allowed under the law -- even if it would be cheaper for the family. This quirk has generated controversy in the heated debate over health care. What's gotten less attention is how firms and employees are taking advantage (Budnick, 9/29).

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