Wide Variation In Plan Prices Poses Challenges For Health Law, Creates Stress For Shoppers

Also, some businesses are factoring in the cost of health coverage to their growth calculations.

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Plan Rates Vary Widely, But Most Popular Have Jumped From 2015
For a snapshot of typical insurance prices for 2016 under the health law, The Wall Street Journal examined choices for a midrange “silver” plan through HealthCare.gov for people who currently have coverage with the most popular insurer in their state. Specific premiums vary based on age, locality, the extent of coverage offered and family size, but pricing trends are generally consistent across plans—including those sold directly to people without using HealthCare.gov. (Radnofsky and Overberg, 11/18)

The Wall Street Journal: Rising Rates Pose Challenge To Health Law
Many people signing up for 2016 health policies under the Affordable Care Act face higher premiums, fewer doctors and skimpier coverage, which threatens the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs. Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings. The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions. (Radnofsky, Overberg and Armour, 11/18)

The New York Times: Shopping For Health Insurance Is New Seasonal Stress For Many
For 2014, the first year she got health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, Gail Galen chose a plan from a new nonprofit insurer, Oregon’s Health CO-OP. But the price jumped for 2015, so Ms. Galen switched to a policy from a different company, LifeWise Health Plan. Now, with open enrollment for 2016 underway, she is preparing to leap to her third insurer in three years — and stocking up on whiskey, she says, only half in jest, as she braces for another round of shopping on the federal insurance marketplace. (Goodnough, 11/18)

The New York Times: Health Care Law Forces Businesses To Consider Growth’s Costs
Starting in January, the Affordable Care Act requires businesses with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees to offer workers health insurance or face penalties that can exceed $2,000 per employee. Ms. Hunter, who has 45 employees, is determined not to cross that threshold. Paying for health insurance would wipe out her company’s profit and the five-figure salary she pays herself from it, she said. … The health care law’s employer mandate, a provision that business groups fought against fiercely, is intended to make affordable health insurance available to more people by requiring employers to bear some of the cost of providing it. (Cowley, 118)

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

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