Relatively Few Seek Relief From The Health Law’s Individual Insurance Mandate
Although people can seek exemptions from this requirement to buy coverage, only about 77,000 have done so, The Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, payment issues are also in the headlines as KHN looks at insurers' efforts to set the 2015 rates for policies on the health law's marketplaces, and the New York Times examines a panel's findings about the law's effects on doctors and hospitals treating many poor patients.
The Washington Post: Few Have Sought Exemption From Health-Care Mandate That They Have Insurance Or Pay Fine
The government left the door wide open for millions of Americans to be excused from the Affordable Care Act's requirement that most people must carry health insurance or pay a fine, but so far relatively few have asked for such a pardon. About 77,000 families and individuals have requested exemptions from the health-care law's so-called individual mandate, according to internal government documents obtained by The Washington Post. As of April 20, officials had approved tens of thousands of exemption requests and rejected none (Somashekhar, 4/25).
Kaiser Health News: Health Plans Scramble To Calculate 2015 Rates
With the results sure to affect politics as well as pocketbooks, health insurers are already preparing to raise rates next year for plans issued under the Affordable Care Act. But their calculation about how much depends on their ability to predict how newly enrolled customers – for whom little is known regarding health status and medical needs -- will affect 2015 costs (Hancock, 4/28).
The New York Times: Health Law’s Pay Policy Is Skewed, Panel Finds
Federal policies to reward high-quality health care are unfairly penalizing doctors and hospitals that treat large numbers of poor people, according to a new report commissioned by the Obama administration that recommends sweeping changes in payment policy (Pear, 4/27).
The American Academy of Pediatrics is warning families against buying high-deductible or catastrophic coverage through the online insurance marketplaces.
NBC News: Parents: Don't Buy Cheap Health Plans, Experts Advise
The cheapest health plans, with low premiums and high deductibles, are no good for families with children, pediatricians said Monday. In fact, states should consider legislation that restricts the plans only to adults, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in an advisory. That includes the lowest-tier "catastrophic" plans offered on some Obamacare exchanges. "Families with small children tend to be high users of primary care services. As such, high deductible health plans would seem to be particularly inappropriate for them," the Academy said in a policy statement published in the journal Pediatrics (Fox, 4/28).
In other health law news -
The Fiscal Times: Polls Show Rising Acceptance For Obamacare
In February, one Florida restaurant chain—Gator's Dockside -- made headlines for slapping a one percent "Obamacare surcharge" on customers’ bills. The chain's owners said the surcharge was necessary to offset the new costs associated with the Affordable Care Act. ... Though the Florida restaurant's owners said the move to add Obamacare on every receipt was not political, the story played into the GOP’s message that Obamacare could have a harmful effect on businesses and consumers. As it turns out, the majority of Americans say they are okay with businesses adding a nominal surcharge to each bill in order to help pay for their employees health coverage (Ehley, 4/28).