KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

In Rhode Island, Blue Cross Signals Rate Increase

Rhode Island Blue Cross, the state's largest insurer, indicated that it would increase its average rates for small businesses by 15 percent, according to filings released on Monday. In Georgia, the push for earlier renewal dates is billed as an effort to avoid "rate shock."

The Wall Street Journal: Rhode Island Blue Cross Filings Signal Rate Rises
The biggest health-insurance carrier in Rhode Island says its average rates for small businesses will go up about 15% next year, an increase tied to the federal health-care overhaul as well as other factors. Rhode Island on Monday became one of the first states to unveil filings that reveal how much its insurers are aiming to charge next year, though the rates still must be approved by state regulators (Mathews and Radnofsky, 4/15).

Georgia Health News: Some Renewing Insurance Early In The Face Of ACA
Health insurers in Georgia are letting smaller firms and individuals move up their policy renewal dates so they can extend their current deals into next year – and avoid possible "rate shock"’ caused by the Affordable Care Act. State insurance department officials and an industry group say the practice of trying to get around the ACA rules is occurring at least on a limited basis in Georgia. "If consumers think it's in their best interests to renew before January 1, we certainly are not going to stand in their way," said Jay Florence, assistant insurance commissioner. "There is no state or federal law that prohibits this type of agreement between customer and insurer" (Miller, 4/15).

Related KHN Coverage: Insurers’ Efforts To Delay Health Law Compliance Could Affect Premiums, Benefits For Millions (Appleby, 4/5).

Also related to the health law's implementation and insurance coverage -

Fox News: Nation's Biggest Movie Theater Chain Cuts Workweek, Blaming ObamaCare
The nation's largest movie theater chain has cut the hours of thousands of employees, saying in a company memo that ObamaCare requirements are to blame. Regal Entertainment Group, which operates more than 500 theaters in 38 states, last month rolled back shifts for non-salaried workers to 30 hours per week, putting them under the threshold at which employers are required to provide health insurance. The Nashville-based company said in a letter to managers that the move was a direct result of ObamaCare (Chiaramonte, 4/15).

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