A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Premiums/Costs"

Blue Cross mistakenly notifies 42,000 NC customers of incorrect rate increases

John Murawski and Ann Doss Helms, Raleigh News and Observer
Fri, 2014-10-31
"Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, said Thursday that about 42,000 customers around the state received insurance renewal letters with incorrect rates, some showing cost increases of more than 100 percent. The Chapel Hill company has been flooded with calls since Wednesday from irate customers who began receiving their renewal notices this week. Blue Cross officials soon realized the insurance rates were incorrectly transferred from the company’s database to the computer-generated renewal notices."

Obamacare May Mean High Drug Costs For Floridians With HIV

Nicholas Nehemas, Miami Herald
Fri, 2014-10-31
"When Tony Smith lost his job as a corporate paralegal two years ago, a state program stepped in to help him keep his health insurance — and the expensive drugs his life had depended on since his 2008 HIV diagnosis. Now Smith, 42, of Coral Springs, has been told he must sign up for coverage on Florida’s federally run insurance exchange or the state will stop helping him pay his premiums. “The landscape of healthcare has changed, and with the passage of the Affordable Care Act we have the opportunity to access and enroll in cost-effective health plans,” an official at the AIDS Insurance Continuation Program wrote in a letter to Smith and other AICP beneficiaries. But it is not clear that ACA insurance plans will be cheaper — or even affordable — for those with HIV and AIDS, according to patient advocates."

Here’s Who Got Obamacare Coverage, Explained in Just 1 Minute

Ben Howe, The Daily Signal
Thu, 2014-10-30
"Get ready to be inundated with a fresh round of Obamacare propaganda. President Obama’s health care law will be back in the news next month when open enrollment begins Nov. 15. The government is already gearing up to recruit more enrollees. But based on what we know already, the Affordable Care Act isn’t panning out exactly as expected. That’s because the vast majority—an estimated 71 percent—of people who gained coverage under Obamacare between January and June did so by qualifying under Medicaid’s loosened eligibility requirements."

Obamacare Faces New Threat as Supreme Court Weighs Appeal

Greg Stohr, Bloomberg
Thu, 2014-10-30
"The fate of President Barack Obama’s health-care law is again in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. Two years after upholding the law by a single vote, the justices are weighing whether to hear a Republican-backed appeal that would block people in 36 states from getting tax subsidies to buy insurance. The justices are scheduled to discuss the matter tomorrow, with an announcement coming as soon as Nov. 3. The tax credits have implications well beyond the 4.6 million people who receive them in those states. A high court decision against the administration would have ripple effects, undercutting other parts of the Affordable Care Act and potentially destabilizing insurance markets across the nation."

Obamacare’s Success Has Small Business Dropping Coverage

Kelly Gilblom and Caroline Chen, Bloomberg
Thu, 2014-10-30
"U.S. small businesses are dropping health insurance for their workers, as Obamacare lets them send employees to new marketplaces where they can often get subsidies from the government to buy coverage. WellPoint Inc. (WLP)’s small business insurance products lost 300,000 people this year, the company said today. Business owners are dropping coverage they previously bought through WellPoint and other insurers, and instead sending employees to shop for it on the government exchanges created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare."

Nearly 1/4 of doctors may opt out of Obamacare exchanges in 2015

Jazz Shaw
Hot Air
Thu, 2014-10-30
"Do you suppose any of the 2014 candidates will find time in the closing week to talk about Obamacare again, in the midst of all the other slow rolling disasters? (Aside from the occasional Root and Branch repeal call, that is.) If they do, they might want to mention a new study from the Medical Group Management Association which has some rather depressing figures in terms of medical services availability next year for participants. Barbara Boland has the story. Over 214,000 doctors won’t participate in the new plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA,) analysis of a new survey by Medical Group Management Association shows. That number of 214,524, estimated by American Action Forum, is through May 2014, but appears to be growing due to plans that force doctors to take on burdensome costs.

Want To Fix The "Doc Fix"? Experiment!

Yevgeniy Feyman
Forbes
Thu, 2014-10-30
"For health policy wonks, the end of the year isn’t just the holiday season. With the falling temperatures will come a renewed “doc fix” debate, as Congress deliberates on ways to avoid a scheduled double-digit (24 percent last year) cut in Medicare’s physician payments. And avoid it they will. As health economist Austin Frakt put bluntly: “Good luck getting physicians to keep Medicare patients if the payments are suddenly cut 24 percent.”"

This Democratic 'reform' would make Obamacare more expensive. Bad idea.

Michael Hiltzik
Los Angeles Times
Thu, 2014-10-30
"A caucus of seven nervous Democratic senators, led by Mark Begich of Alaska, has been pushing a plan to "reform" the Affordable Care Act by allowing insurers to offer an even skimpier insurance plan than the skimpiest permitted now. . The idea of their "Expanded Consumer Choice Act" is to create a new "copper" tier of health plan permitted in the individual and small-business markets under the ACA. The copper tier would undercut the current tiers of health plans by covering only 50% of expected health costs. Under the current law, the stingiest "bronze" tier covers 60% of costs."

House subpoenas former HealthCare.gov official

Julian Hattem, The Hill
Thu, 2014-10-30
"The House Science Committee has issued a subpoena for former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park over his role in developing HealthCare.gov. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the subpoena for the Obama administration’s former top tech advisor, demanding that he testify about his oversight of the ObamaCare website, including its security protocols. The subpoena comes after Park’s previous refusals to testify and his recent cancellation of a meeting with House lawmakers after it became clear that the briefing would be public, the committee said."

Gov. Haslam: Little progress in Medicaid expansion plans

David Boucher, The Tennesseean
Thu, 2014-10-30
"Plans to find a way to expand Medicaid eligibility for Tennessee residents aren’t moving as quickly as expected, Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday morning. The governor said he continues to work with federal health officials to find a solution that will work, but it’s taking longer than he had hoped. “I would have hoped we would have made more progress by now, after the meeting we had up there five or six weeks ago,” Haslam said Tuesday morning after speaking at an education conference in Nashville."

ObamaCare Watch Weekly

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Check out Jim Capretta's new book.

ObamaCare Primer