The state of Hawaii is likely to extend the operations of the Hawaii Health Connector through October 2016 for $3.3 million, the health insurance exchange’s officials announced Friday at its board of directors meeting.
Hawaii’s state-based insurance marketplace also received confirmation Thursday that the federal government would chip in a $2.8 million grant to support “marketplace assister organizations” — the Connector’s nonprofit partners that assist the community in signing up for health insurance.

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A popular middle class tax benefit could become one of the first casualties of the Affordable Care Act’s so-called Cadillac tax, affecting millions of voters.
Flexible spending accounts, which allow people to save their own money tax free for everything from doctor’s co-pays to eyeglasses, may vanish in coming years as companies scramble to avoid the law’s 40 percent levy on pricey health care benefits.

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Legislation overturning the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the small-group insurance market is likely to get a look this fall, according to multiple sources on and off Capitol Hill, and it may be the Obamacare “fix” with the best chance of becoming law.

All the usual caveats apply: Republicans would have to convince the rank-and-file to accept a smaller-scale change to the law while waiting for full repeal. Democrats must be willing to agree to any change at all. Nothing involving Obamacare comes easy.

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The promise of free money is hard to turn down, and so when Obamacare offered the states a cheap way of expanding Medicaid, Gov. Rick Snyder found it hard to resist. Yet just a year into Michigan’s expansion, it’s not such a bargain.

In its mission to make sure more Americans have health insurance, the Affordable Care Act depended on states to expand their Medicaid programs to individuals with incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

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Section 9001 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), set to take effect in 2018, imposes an “Excise Tax on High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage”, which has come to be known as the “Cadillac Tax” (not due to a corporate sponsorship from GM, however). This is a 40 percent tax on employer-sponsored health benefits that are defined as “excess benefits,” which is defined as anything in excess of $10,200 (employee only) or $27,500 (family) coverage for 2018, with adjustments for subsequent years. The “excess benefits” include not only benefits provided by the employer, but also the portion of premium paid by the employee, as well as any money the employee chooses to set aside out of salary to pay for health expenses via a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

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No. Take more. Really.
While most states have been pushing health insurers to curb proposed price increases, Florida is telling some of them they can charge more.
The state on Wednesday approved an average premium increase of 9.5 percent for Affordable Care Act plans sold to individuals for next year. Insurers had asked to boost rates 8.6 percent on average.

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Big business is against it. So is big labor. Ditto for K Street. What do they want? The repeal of Obamacare’s tax on high cost health care plans. A growing number of Republicans and Democrats in Congress are lining up to agree with them.

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Health insurers in Massachusetts will boost rates more than 6 percent for small businesses and individuals in 2016, a troubling sign that costs are once again accelerating.

The increase, approved by the state Division of Insurance last week, is more than double the rise in premiums at the beginning of this year and triple the rise in 2014.

The new rates will affect about 300,000 people who buy health insurance on their own or work for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees and will renew plans in January.

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Health Care: When insurers requested huge rate hikes for their 2016 ObamaCare plans, we were told not to worry because state regulators would force them down. But that’s not happening. Death spiral, anyone?

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New York State has in many ways been a showcase for things that have gone right with Obamacare. The rollout of the state-run health insurance exchange went relatively smoothly and registered patients at a clip well ahead of the national average. Supporters say the exchange’s 2.1 million enrollees are proof positive that the law is increasing consumer choice and fostering a competitive marketplace.

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