KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Exchanges Largely Unaffected By Delay In Employer Mandate

Officials in California and Minnesota say that neither the timing, nor the content of insurance coverage offered in their new online insurance marketplaces will be affected by the administration's decision to suspend enforcement of penalties on large employers until 2015.

KQED State Of Health: Obama Administration Delays Employer Mandate For The Year; Reaction In California
The Obama administration announced Tuesday afternoon that the federal health law’s employer mandate, which requires large employers to provide health insurance to full-time workers or pay a fine, has been delayed for one year. Other key elements of the Affordable Care Act will stay in place, such as the individual requirement to have health insurance and the new marketplaces, such as Covered California. The administration’s announcement cited "concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively" as the reason for the change (Aliferis, 7/2).

MPR News: MNsure Won’t Be Affected By ObamaCare Delay
The state's new health insurance exchange, MNsure, won't be affected by the Obama administration's decision today to delay a key employer mandate under the federal health care law, Minnesota officials say. The mandate requiring businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance or face a penalty will be delayed until 2015. The U.S. Treasury announced that the Obama administration is bowing to business groups that had pushed for extra time before the mandate kicks in (7/2).

Sacramento Bee: California's Health Care Exchanges Not Harmed By Ruling, Officials Say
The Obama administration's decision not to penalize large firms for failing to provide health insurance to workers next year will not harm California's implementation of the health care overhaul, officials said Tuesday. California is creating an exchange to sell insurance to individuals and small employers, not to large firms, spokeswoman Anne Gonzales said. Neither the timing nor the content of policies offered on the exchange – Covered California – will be affected, Gonzales said (Sanders, 7/3).

Healthy Cal: What Obama's Big ACA Announcement Could Mean For California
What will the Obama Administration's decision to suspend enforcement of penalties against employer who don't insure their workers mean for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? That's hard to say, but it will likely complicate it further, despite the administration's assertion that they are delaying the requirements on employers because businesses said they were too complex to deal with (Weintraub, 7/2).

Meanwhile, another media outlet reports that California's exchange is telling plans to strip out dental coverage, which could increase consumer costs -  

KQED State Of Health: Covered California To Sell Children's Dental Plans Separately
The state’s health insurance marketplace, Covered California, authorized a set of benefits months ago that included dental care for children, but now the marketplace is telling insurance companies to strip out the dental coverage. People would then have to pay extra for a dental plan for their children. California’s insurance commissioner Dave Jones warns the move could reduce children’s access to dental care and urged Covered California to include the benefit in plans that will be sold when the marketplace formally opens October 1. The change will also drive up costs for consumers, he says (Small, 7/2).

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