Nick Budnick, The Oregonian
"More than 12,000 people who purchased policies through Cover Oregon could owe a combined $1.12 million at tax time because of errors in subsidized premiums issued by the health insurance exchange.
The vast majority of people affected are expected to owe no more than $10 per month that their policy was in effect. That figure is not final, however, because a $10,000 consultant's study intended to settle the question did not succeed. The exchange is planning to commission a second, more in-depth study."
Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, Health News Colorado
"Cost and confusion prevented many uninsured people from signing up for health coverage this year in Colorado, according to two new reports.
A Rand study, Barriers to Enrollment in Health Coverage in Colorado, found that some consumers didn’t want to sign up because they opposed the individual mandate. Others were frustrated that they first had to apply for Medicaid in a cumbersome process. Still others found Colorado’s exchange website confusing. And many people said costs for insurance and co-pays seemed too high."
Andy Miller, Georgia Health News
"A state agency says Georgia consumers’ personal data has not been compromised so far in the wake of a theft of a laptop computer that contained some people’s health information. The computer was stolen from the vehicle of an employee of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities who was attending a Clayton County conference in August.
The laptop contained health information on 3,397 individuals who receive services from the agency. A majority of these patients get services in the Columbus region, DBHDD said."
Christopher Snowbeck, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Sticker shock awaits thousands of people with health coverage through PreferredOne, the top seller on the MNsure exchange during its first year.
The Golden Valley-based insurer said Wednesday that its individual market subscribers will see an average premium increase next year of 63 percent due to high claims costs.
“Given the volatility of the individual marketplace due to the first year of the [federal health law], this increase is a significant step at stabilizing our rates and plans for the years to come,” the company said in a statement."
Rebecca Riffkin, Gallup
"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Although more provisions of the Affordable Care Act have taken effect over the past year, more Americans still say the law has hurt rather than helped them. Compared with early 2014, fewer Americans say it has had no effect, although this group is still in the majority, at 54%.
Americans overall are both more positive and more negative about the law's effect on themselves and their families. Since the start of this year, the percentage saying the law has helped them has increased from 10% to 16%, while the percentage saying it has hurt them has also gone up, and by a similar amount, from 19% to 27%."
"There are dozens of ways to escape Obamacare’s individual mandate tax — but good luck figuring that out come tax season.
Tens of millions of Americans can avoid the fee if they qualify for exemptions like hardship or living in poverty, but the convoluted process has some experts worried individuals will be tripped up by lost paperwork, the need to verify information with multiple sources and long delays that extend beyond tax season.
“It’s not going to be pretty,” said George Brandes, vice president of health care programs at Jackson Hewitt, a tax prep firm. “Just because you theoretically qualify for hardship, or another exemption, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it.”"
Jessica Chasmar, Washington Times
"The producer of a new movie that criticizes Obamacare has reportedly become the latest prominent conservative slapped with an IRS audit.
Logan Clements, producer of “Sick and Sicker: ObamaCare Canadian Style,” announced via press release Tuesday that he is being audited for the first time ever."
Kenneth Manyari-Magro, The Daily Signal
"Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, 28,476 pages of notices, proposed rules, and finalized rules containing the phrase, “Affordable Care Act” have been written in the Federal Register. This includes 843 notices, 222 proposed rules, and 234 final rules.
Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had it right when she famously said, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
And unfortunately, there is still more to come."
Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News
"Sandra Grooms recently got a call from her oncologist’s office. The chemotherapy drugs he wanted to use on her metastatic breast cancer were covered by her health plan, with one catch: Her share of the cost would be $976 for each 14-day supply of the two pills.
"I said, 'I can't afford it,' " said Grooms, 52, who is insured through her job as a general manager at a janitorial supply company in Augusta, Ga. "I was very upset."
Even with insurance, some patients are struggling to pay for prescription drugs for conditions such as cancer, arthritis, multiple sclerosis or HIV/AIDS, as insurers and employers shift more of the cost of high-priced pharmaceuticals to the patients who take them."
Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News
"In an effort to slow health care spending, more employers are looking at capping what they pay for certain procedures — like joint replacements — and requiring insured workers who choose hospitals or medical facilities that exceed the cap to pay the difference themselves.
But a study out Thursday finds employers might be disappointed with the overall savings. While the idea, known as “reference pricing,” does highlight the huge variation in what hospitals and other medical providers charge for the same services, the report says, it does little to lower overall health care spending.
“It’s zeroing in on a piece of the health spending puzzle that is critical, the unreasonably high negotiated prices paid by health plans … but it’s not going to get you there if you need to save a lot of money,” said co-author Chapin White."