KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obamacare Winners And Losers

NPR looks at what the federal government can learn from Massachusetts as health insurance exchanges roll out. Other media outlets check in with insurers, Wall Street traders, health care stakeholders and those who had previously been denied coverage in the individual insurance market.

NPR: Lessons For The Obamacare Rollout, Courtesy Of Massachusetts
Today marks a milestone on the nation's long march toward universal health coverage -- the launch of online marketplaces, called exchanges, designed to help people find health insurance they can afford (Knox, 10/1).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Care Overhaul Pushes Small Firms To Lock In Lower Rates
With major provisions of the federal health overhaul set to take effect Jan. 1, many U.S. insurers are prodding small-business customers to renew their current coverage early, to lock in lower rates. "With all of the changes coming up in 2014, we want to provide you with options that allow you to make the right decision for you and your employees," said a recent letter from one major insurer, Blue Shield of California, which has made the pitch to all of its small-business customers, who can keep their 2013 rates if they act to renew existing plans by Oct. 14 (Simon, 9/30).

The Hill: Wall Street Traders Seek Jackpot With Obamacare Bets
For investors, the basic calculus is this: The more people who enroll in the new insurance exchanges, the better it is for the hospitals, medical companies and insurers who will gain new customers (Bogardus, 10/1).

Modern Healthcare: Blues Wins First Federal Contract To Offer Multistate Plans On Insurance Exchanges
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is the first insurer to receive a federal contract to offer individual insurance coverage options across a majority of state insurance exchanges in 2014, as part of a program to boost competition and consumer choice under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In a Monday announcement, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which will administer the multistate plan program, said the Blues will offer more than 150 plan options in 30 states as well as in the District of Columbia (McKinney, 9/30).

Kaiser Health News: Millions Previously Denied Insurance Coverage Because Of Health Problems Look To Online Marketplaces
Denise Marshall of Sonoma, Calif., was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011 and a year later, lost her toy company job along with her health insurance benefits. The good news is that her disease was caught early and she is now in remission. The bad news was her cancer diagnosis made it impossible to buy coverage because insurers thought she was too high a health risk. Marshall, 55, is one of millions of Americans with pre-existing health conditions who have been shut out from buying coverage on the individual insurance market. But under the Affordable Care Act., starting Jan. 1 insurers can no longer reject people, charge them more or restrict their benefits because of their health status (Galewitz, 9/30).

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