KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Open Enrollment Is Over — What’s Ahead For The Health Law Now?

News outlets are beginning to focus on the next set of implementation chores, as well as the ways in which the law will impact the health care marketplace.  

The New York Times: What’s Next For Health Care
The first open enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has just ended, and consumers, insurers and federal officials now face many immediate chores and challenges that will help determine if the law works as intended. Many questions about the law’s potential impact on the health care system remain, and here are some preliminary answers (Pear, 4/2).

The Associated Press: Nonprofit Insurers Struggle In New Marketplaces
A smorgasbord of options and lower prices for consumers were two of the chief selling points for President Barack Obama as he promoted his overhaul of the nation’s health insurance industry, predicting Americans would see “competition in ways we haven’t seen before.” Companies were even started as a way to encourage innovation and competition, namely 23 consumer-run, co-op insurers created with the help of $2 billion in federal loans. But rather than promote competition, the co-ops and smaller nonprofits in some states have languished behind major insurers, attracting in some cases minuscule shares of the market (4/2).

The Fiscal Times: Obamacare Spikes Costs For Employers Who Insure Over 170 Million
The health care benefits provided by large employers for over 170  million Americans may be in jeopardy because of costs related to the Affordable Care Act. Large employers with 10,000 or more employees who provide health care insurance to the majority of Americans including employees, retirees and dependents, will see their total costs over ten years increase from $151 billion to $186 billion, or 5.9 percent more than what they would otherwise be spending. Put another way, the ACA will cost large U.S. employers between $4,800 and $5,900 per employee (Leo, 4/2). 

CQ HealthBeat: Working-Age Military Retirees Could Face Higher Health Costs
Active duty personnel and veterans won’t be shifted into the new health law marketplaces or Medicaid, a top Defense Department health official told House appropriators Wednesday. But the official said that some military beneficiaries may face higher out-of-pocket costs in the future (Adams, 4/3).

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports on this development related to a Supreme Court challenge to the overhaul's birth control mandate  -

The Associated Press: Hobby Lobby 401(k) Invests In Birth Control Makers
The company leading the legal challenge against birth control coverage under the new health care law offers its workers a retirement plan that includes investments in companies making contraceptive and abortion drugs. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. has a 401(k) plan featuring several mutual funds investing in pharmaceutical firms that produce intrauterine birth control devices, emergency contraceptive pills and drugs used in abortion procedures, according to Labor Department documents and a review of fund portfolios (Hananel, 4/2).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.