KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Insurance Exchange News: Investors Say 4 Million Americans Will Initially Enroll

This number is well below the Congressional Budget Office's prediction of seven million. Meanwhile, USA Today reports that many Americans will pay less than $100 a month in premiums, based on an HHS report to be released today.

Reuters: Investors See Four Million Signing Up For Obamacare In 2014: Survey
Investors expect 4 million Americans to initially enroll in the state insurance marketplaces created under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, according to a survey released on Monday, as concerns mount that technical glitches could present obstacles to enrollment. The expectations of the investors - hedge funds, institutional clients and other investors surveyed by Citigroup, 56 in total - fall far short of a Congressional Budget Office forecast that 7 million Americans will seek subsidized health coverage through the online exchanges (Krauskopf, 9/16).

USA Today: For Millions, Insurance Will Cost Less Than $100/Month
About 6.4 million Americans eligible to buy insurance through the new health exchanges will pay $100 or less a month in premiums because of tax subsidies, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report to be released Tuesday and obtained by USA TODAY. The report by the HHS office for planning and evaluation said the lower premiums would primarily apply to insurance customers who buy what are called "silver" plans on the exchanges that open Oct. 1 (Kennedy, 9/17).

Also, news outlets offer consumers useful details about the online insurance marketplaces.

The Washington Post: Health Insurance Marketplaces Open Oct. 1. What You Need To Know To Choose A Plan.
It might not be Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but Oct. 1 should be a shopping day to remember. For the first time, millions of uninsured Americans will be able to go online to compare health insurance plans, find out if they are eligible for federal help in paying the premiums and buy coverage (Sun, 9/16).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: What You Need To Know About The New Online Marketplaces
If done well, proponents say, the marketplaces could make it easier to buy health insurance and possibly lead to lower prices because of increased competition. But, if designed or marketed poorly, the exchanges will not attract healthy people and will instead be left with a higher percentage of sicker people that will cause premiums to rise. Here are some answers to common questions about the exchanges (Carey and Appleby, 9/16).

Kaiser Health News: Obamacare Will Be Both Ally And Rival To eHealthInsurance
America's biggest online health insurance retailer is getting ready for some stiff new competition from Uncle Sam. The federal government will be opening new online marketplaces for health insurance in 34 states on Oct. 1. State governments are opening their own on the same day in the remaining states (Whitney, 9/17).

USA Today: Survey: Some Seniors Confused About Law And Medicare
About 17% of seniors incorrectly believe the Affordable Care Act replaces their Medicare with insurance policies purchased on line through the state and federal health insurance exchanges, according to a study released exclusively to USA TODAY (Kennedy, 9/17).

Related, earlier KHN story: Selling Marketplace Plans To Medicare Beneficiaries Will Be Illegal (Jaffe, 9/13)

Meanwhile, hospitals are getting into the outreach game -

Modern Healthcare: Hospital Association Leaders Push Members To Educate Patients About Exchanges
With open enrollment on the public exchanges starting in 15 days, the leaders of the nation's major hospital associations Monday urged their members to do all they can to help patients learn about the health reform law's insurance coverage options. People will enroll in coverage only if they understand what's available to them and how they can access it, American Hospital Association President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said at the start of an hourlong webcast (Zigmond, 9/16).

And some leaders are changing their tune -

The Hill: Sen. Baucus Says He No Longer Fears 'Train Wreck' When ObamaCare Begins
Sen. Max Baucus on Monday said he no longer fears ObamaCare will be a "train wreck."  Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said his memorable warning about the law earlier this year served its intended purpose by forcing the White House to deal with concerns about the rollout (Viebeck, 9/16).

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