KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

AOL CEO’s Assertions Spur Skepticism, Privacy Concerns

Experts say that a company the size of AOL, which pays for its employees' health costs directly, likely has a “stop-loss” policy that covers expenses after they reach a certain point. The New York Times, meanwhile, explores how the comments by CEO Tim Armstrong raise privacy concerns about how employers treat employees' private medical data.

NBC News: Million-Dollar Babies Should Have Been Non-Issue For AOL
Tim Armstrong has had to apologize twice now for his announcement last week saying the company was changing its 401(k) retirement plan policy in part because it had some hefty health care claims, including two babies costing a million dollars each for care. Experts say he may also have something else to apologize for -- not knowing what he was talking about. No company the size of AOL should be strapped by having to pay for the medical care of two “distressed” newborns. And while it might have once been a problem for smaller employers, they say, the issue shows how the new health care law might provide some relief going forward (Fox, 2/10).

The New York Times: Revelations By AOL Boss Raise Fears Over Privacy
Tim Armstrong, the chief executive of AOL, apologized last weekend for publicly revealing sensitive health care details about two employees to explain why the online media giant had decided to cut benefits. He even reinstated the benefits after a backlash. But patient and work force experts say the gaffe could have a lasting impact on how comfortable -- or discomfited -- Americans feel about bosses’ data-mining their personal lives (Singer, 2/10).

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