KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Law Influences Small Business Owners’ Decisions

The Wall Street Journal reports that even though the mandate was delayed requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to provide coverage for their workers, the overhaul is affecting how companies are run. In addition, Fox News reports that doctors could be left with unpaid bills if enrollees don't pay their premiums, and Politico writes about a study that challenges the notion that the health law resulted in millions of canceled policies.

The Wall Street Journal: Small Businesses Find Benefits, Costs As They Navigate Affordable Care Act
Many small businesses won a reprieve from having to provide health insurance under the Affordable Care Act until 2015 or later. But the law is already having a lasting impact on how lots of owners choose to run their companies. Some owners have begun to weigh strategies that might help them avoid complying with the law later on, such as opting out of providing the required coverage and instead paying a federal penalty of $2,000 for each full-time worker after the first 30. Others have begun restructuring their businesses, reducing their employees' hours, for example, or trimming their total head counts to fewer than 50 full-time workers (Needleman and Loten, 4/23).

Fox News: Nonpayment Of ObamaCare Premiums Could Cost Doctors
While the debate continues over how many ObamaCare enrollees are actually paying their premiums, one aspect of the law temporarily rewards those who actually stop paying – and doctors may wind up bearing the cost. “This law provides a 90-day grace period for people who have subsidized ObamaCare exchange plans and stopped paying their premium," said Betsy McCaughey, health care author and former New York lieutenant governor. But the insurance companies are only obligated to cover the first 30 days of the 90-day grace period (Angle, 4/24).

Earlier, related KHN coverage: Doctors Say Obamacare Rule Will Stick Them With Unpaid Bills, (Rabin, 3/19).

Politico: Study Questions Obamacare Impact On Canceled Plans
Millions of the plans that were canceled because they did not meet Affordable Care Act requirements probably would have been canceled anyway — by the policyholders, a new study suggests. Last fall, as cancellation letters arrived in mailboxes around the country, opponents of the law cited them as evidence that President Barack Obama had lied to Americans when he promised, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” (Wheaton, 4/23).

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