Caroline's Feed
Jan 6, 2014

U.S. health spending rose 3.7 pct in 2012 as economy dragged

Jan 6 (Reuters) – U.S. healthcare spending rose 3.7 percent
in 2012 to $2.8 trillion, the fourth year in a row in this range
as the slow economic recovery tempered private insurance use,
drug prices fell and the government held back payment increases
for doctors, the Obama administration said on Monday.

Since 2009, increases in spending on healthcare have run
from 3.6 percent to 3.8 percent, below pre-recession rates which
have been falling since their peak in 2003, the report from the
U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said.

Dec 18, 2013

Insurers wary of new Obamacare fix for January health plans

By Caroline Humer and Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – Insurance companies are struggling with a new request by the Obama administration to make sure people receive medical benefits under healthcare reform come January 1, even if they miss a sign-up deadline set for next Monday.

The government has sought to reassure consumers, already frustrated by technical problems that stalled access to its HealthCare.gov enrollment website in October and November, that those who need coverage starting on New Year’s Day will be able to sign up.

Dec 12, 2013

Aetna will not reinstate individual insurance plans: CEO

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Aetna Inc has decided not to reinstate or extend individual health insurance plans that are being canceled with the advent of the U.S. Affordable Care Act because the time frame is too short.

Aetna is the largest insurer yet to announce a decision on how it would proceed across the United States after President Barack Obama said last month that insurers could extend these health plans under a temporary transitional policy.

Dec 12, 2013

For some Obamacare shoppers, a brief grace period on premiums

NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) – As a deadline approaches for
people to sign up for medical insurance under President Barack
Obama’s healthcare law, some insurers and state-run online
marketplaces are giving shoppers an extra week to pay their
first premiums.

The shift to early January from the end of December provides
a short grace period for insurers and shoppers to work through
any errors in the new policies caused by technology problems
dogging enrollment since it opened on Oct. 1.

Dec 6, 2013

Health website transactions fail 10 percent of time: U.S. official

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – As millions of people shop online for new insurance plans under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, about 10 percent of applications to the main website are not being accurately transmitted, a government spokeswoman said on Friday.

The error rate has improved since HealthCare.gov’s disastrous debut on October 1, which created a political crisis for Obama as opponents and supporters of the law questioned whether the most sweeping social program since the 1960s was rushed well before it was ready. Last week, the White House wrapped up a five-week emergency effort to fix the most obvious of the website’s technical problems.

Dec 4, 2013

Short-term fix eyed for another problem with U.S. healthcare website

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration has found a short-term fix to pay insurance companies for plans selected on HealthCare.gov, the not-yet-complete government website used to shop for insurance required under Obama’s healthcare program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet finished building the part of the website that would transfer billions of dollars in subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.

Nov 22, 2013

California exchange rejects extension of Obamacare-canceled plans

By Lewis Krauskopf and Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – California’s new health exchange will not allow canceled policies to extend past the end of the year, defying President Barack Obama’s effort to repair his pledge that people can keep their current plans.

The announcement on Thursday by the most populous U.S. state, an early supporter of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, marked the latest state to reject the president’s fix, which he announced last week after taking political fire for not keeping his promise to allow people to keep their plans if they like them.

Nov 20, 2013

Small health insurers fear Obamacare woes will tilt playing field

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As the White House tries to address consumer anger and technical problems tied to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, its proposed fixes risk undermining a key ally in the law’s newly established insurance markets.

Created with $2 billion in government loans, some two dozen not-for-profit health co-ops are meant to provide consumers with more choice in the Obamacare exchanges against far larger players like Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna Inc.

Nov 15, 2013

State insurance regulators hesitate to embrace Obamacare fix

By Caroline Humer and Curtis Skinner

(Reuters) – Many U.S. states are hesitant to embrace President Barack Obama’s fix to keep Americans from losing health insurance plans that do not comply with his healthcare reform, saying they need to figure out how to resurrect canceled policies and whether to allow insurers to raise prices.

California, Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, and Ohio said they would act on Obama’s offer, announced on Thursday, to give a one-year extension to existing policies. Washington, Vermont and Rhode Island – all of which are running their own state-based insurance exchanges – said they would not.

Nov 14, 2013

Obamacare ‘fix’ creates new headaches, say insurers and regulators

NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Insurers and state regulators
say they fear that President Barack Obama’s “fix” for policies
canceled under his healthcare reform law could create new
problems and lead to an increase in premiums.

Facing pressure by lawmakers from his Democratic Party,
Obama said on Thursday that insurers could extend by a year
policies that were due to be canceled in 2014 because they do
not comply with higher standards of benefits and other
requirements under the 2010 law, commonly called Obamacare.