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Some States Say They Won’t Enforce The Health Law’s Insurance Reforms

Six states have taken this position, according to the Texas Tribune. Meanwhile, media outlets report on new developments regarding state activity on the health law’s Medicaid expansion and health exchanges.

Texas Tribune: State To Feds: We Won’t Enforce Insurance Reforms
Though Texas will join 26 other states in defaulting to a federal marketplace for purchasing health insurance — a major component of the Affordable Care Act — it is one of only six that will not enforce new health insurance reforms prescribed by the law. It’s a decision some say could lead to confusion over who’s responsible for protecting Texas insurance consumers. Because Texas did not create its own state-based marketplace, known as a health insurance exchange, under the Affordable Care Act, it must use a federally facilitated one instead (Luthra, 8/7).

Modern Healthcare: Reform Update: Medicaid, CHIP Could Gain 18 Million More Enrollees If All States Expanded Programs, Study Says
While a new report estimates millions of people could be added to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program if all states expanded these programs as allowed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a number of states have refused to expand their programs or cut their existing programs, leaving thousands of their residents without coverage. The study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute estimated 18 million people could be added to the programs, and that the rate of uninsured in each state would fall below 15 percent if the ACA’s Medicaid were fully implemented in all states (Johnson, 8/6).

The Associated Press: NH Medicaid Commission To Hear From Experts
A commission studying whether New Hampshire should expand its Medicaid program under the federal health overhaul law is learning more about states seeking to use federal funding in untraditional ways. The commission, which must write a report to lawmakers by Oct. 15, heard from national experts Tuesday about efforts in Iowa and Arkansas to use Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents (8/6).

CNN: Where Obamacare Premiums Will Soar
While many residents in New York and California may see sizable decreases in their premiums, Americans in many places could face significant increases if they buy insurance through state-based exchanges next year. That’s because these people live in states where insurers were allowed to sell bare-bones plans and exclude the sick, which has kept costs down. Under Obamacare, insurers must offer a package of essential benefits — including maternity, mental health and medications — and must cover all who apply. But more comprehensive coverage may lead to more expensive insurance plans (Luhby, 8/6).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Blue Cross, Allina Join Forces On New Health Care
Two major players in Minnesota health care have teamed up on a new insurance plan they say removes obstacles that keep people from ­getting the best care. The plan that Allina Health and insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota unveiled Tuesday offers a handful of free office visits plus full coverage of many prescription drugs and lab screenings. It eliminates many co-pays (Crosby, 8/6).

Georgia Health News: Blue Cross, Univision Team Up To Reach Uninsured
Many of the 850,000 Hispanics living in Georgia have no health insurance. Georgia’s largest health insurer is looking to connect with them through a new deal with Univision, the leading media company focusing on the nation’s Hispanic population (Miller, 8/6).

And, on the topics of Medicare fraud and the overhaul –

Chicago Sun-Times: Obamacare Invites Medicare Fraud
Perhaps you’ve heard the radio or TV commercials sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services urging seniors to report instances of Medicare fraud. There’s a number to call, along with cheerful suggestions. The intent here seems benign enough — saving taxpayer money by catching the dishonest (Charen, 8/6).