ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

“Employers are increasingly recognizing they may be able to avoid certain penalties under the federal health law by offering very limited plans that can lack key benefits such as hospital coverage. Benefits advisers and insurance brokers—bucking a commonly held expectation that the law would broadly enrich benefits—are pitching these low-benefit plans around the country. They cover minimal requirements such as preventive services, but often little more.”

“Cancer patients could face high costs for medications under President Barack Obama’s health care law, industry analysts and advocates warn. Where you live could make a huge difference in what you’ll pay.”

“The Affordable Care Act may not be so affordable for some Nevadans. The law, commonly called Obamacare, combines benefit mandates and subsidies designed to make health insurance less costly for millions of Americans who now lack coverage. But observers ranging from state insurance officials to employee benefit consultants say some consumers could see premium increases big enough to price them out of insurance markets. If that happens, fewer people than expected could buy into the system, and that might mean the difference between Obamacare’s success or failure.”

“The lack of competition in nearly a dozen states could present problems when the insurance exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act launch in October. The exchanges are supposed to give Americans who do not get health insurance from their employers the opportunity to choose from an array of private insurance plans. The idea is to generate competition between insurers that will lead to lower premiums.”

“A labor union representing roofers is reversing course and calling for repeal of the federal health law, citing concerns the law will raise its cost for insuring members. Organized labor was instrumental in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, but more recently has voiced concerns that the law could lead members to lose their existing health plans. The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers is believed to be the first union to initially support the law and later call for its repeal.”

“President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats sold many Americans on the Affordable Care Act largely by emphasizing two arguments: The law would help to reduce overall health-care costs, and it would provide health insurance to those who, for financial or health reasons, cannot get it now. Unfortunately, both of these arguments are flawed.”

“What if there were a way for even small employers to escape some Affordable Care Act rules blamed for driving up costs? Some see self-insurance for medical care, which is exempt from the law’s taxes, benefit rules and price restrictions taking effect next year, as just such an opportunity… In some circumstances, self-insurance by small businesses with younger employees could cause premiums in the small-group insurance market to rise by 25 percent, according to previous research from the Commonwealth Fund and the Urban Institute.”

“But Sebelius’ answer suggests another explanation: the Democratic opposition to catastrophic plans was not strategic, or vengeful, but entirely heartfelt. The Secretary of Health and Human Services genuinely believes that health insurance should do more than just, well, protect your ability to keep paying the mortgage. Unfortunately, “more” is very expensive and inefficient.”

“The White House insisted on Wednesday that healthcare costs are falling after a member of President Obama’s Cabinet said some people could see their insurance premiums rise under the Affordable Care Act.”

“Some people purchasing new insurance policies for themselves this fall could see premiums rise because of requirements in the health-care law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Tuesday. Ms. Sebelius’s remarks come weeks before insurers are expected to begin releasing rates for plans that start on Jan. 1, 2014, when key provisions of the health law kick in. Premiums have been a sensitive subject for the Obama administration, which is counting on elements in the health law designed to increase competition among insurers to keep rates in check.”