KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Insurers’ Rate Requests Provide Few Clues For Determining Costs

The Associated Press reports that, because many steps remain in the rate-setting process, the initial rates announced by insurers do not offer "clarity." In other health law news, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius encouraged Latino business leaders to spread the word about the overhaul's coverage expansions, and Reuters reports on a proposed Internal Revenue Service rule about employer-sponsored health plans and wellness programs.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Small Businesses May Get Sticker Shock, Little Clarity From 1st Health Insurance Rate Requests
Small businesses, especially those that are required, for the first time, to start providing coverage under the Affordable Care Act have been waiting for some clue about how much it will cost. Many are worried that paying for health care will hurt profits and have held back on hiring, spending or expanding. The information that's been released to date is providing some insight, but not enough for small businesses to be comfortable about making big financial moves (5/1).

CQ HealthBeat: Educating Latino Communities Could Be Make Or Break For The Health Overhaul
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to rally Latino business leaders Wednesday to spread the word about coverage available under the health care law, saying there is much ignorance about the overhaul and that its success is riding on educational efforts. Her remarks to a meeting sponsored by the Latino Coalition at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce came on the heels of growing concern about how effectively federal officials will be able to conduct outreach because of congressional opposition to providing more funding for implementing the law (Reichard, 5/1).

Reuters: IRS Deals Employers A Setback In Healthcare Rules: Lawyers
Employer-sponsored healthcare plans cannot include most "wellness programs" as part of minimum coverage requirements, dealing a setback to many businesses, according to new federal rules for U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul starting next year. The Internal Revenue Service released on Tuesday proposed rules for Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act that handed a victory to labor unions and consumer groups, tax lawyers said on Wednesday (5/1).

And from the Postal Service -

The Washington Post: Postal Temps To Gain Health Insurance Under ObamaCare
The Postal Service next year will offer healthcare coverage to its temporary employees to comply with the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. The agency announced on Monday that it would pay United Healthcare an estimated $239 million annually to provide coverage for about 35,000 "non-career employees" (Hicks, 5/2).

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