KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

‘Copper’ Plans? A Push For New, Lower-Premium Coverage

Some health law proponents are urging officials to create "copper" plans that offer lower deductibles, but higher out-of-pocket costs than the health law's gold, silver and bronze plans. In the meantime, the Office of Management and Budget is reviewing a rule that would allow states to create alternatives to the law's insurance marketplace for low-income people.

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Backers Push Skimpier 'Copper' Insurance Policies
Some backers of the 2010 health-care law are pushing to create a new kind of insurance coverage that the measure essentially had ruled out: policies offering lower premiums but significantly higher out-of-pocket costs than those now available. The plans, dubbed "copper" because they would offer a lower level of coverage than the "gold," "silver" and "bronze" options on the government-run health-care exchanges, would be a departure from the minimum level of coverage that is one of the Affordable Care Act's core principles (Radnofsky, 2/13).

CQ HealthBeat: Basic Health Plan Rules Under Final Administration Review
The Office of Management and Budget is conducting its final review of a long-delayed rule that would allow states to create health insurance programs that are affordable and stable alternatives to marketplace coverage for low-income people. A year ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that officials would delay the creation of the basic health program from 2014 to 2015 (Adams, 2/13).

And Kaiser Health News looks at costs across the nation and affordability of coverage in some Colorado counties --

Kaiser Health News: The 10 Least Expensive Health Insurance Markets In The U.S.
People in much of Minnesota, northwestern Pennsylvania and Tucson, Ariz., are getting the best bargains from the health care law’s new insurance marketplaces: premiums half the price or less than what insurers in the country’s most expensive places are charging. The 10 regions with the lowest premiums in the nation also include Salt Lake City, all of Hawaii and eastern Tennessee. This ranking is based on the lowest cost of a "silver" plan, the mid-range plan most consumers are choosing (Rau, 2/13).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: It's Hot Springs Vs. Ski Slopes In Colorado Insurance Battle
The county with the highest health insurance premiums in the country is drafting a lawsuit against Colorado, saying the state’s approval of the rates violates anti-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act. Garfield County Attorney Frank Hutfless says county commissioners told him “to prepare a lawsuit to be filed against the state, and particularly the department of insurance, the insurance commissioner and perhaps the governor (Whitney, 2/13).

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