In news about the health law, Bloomberg reports that Aetna's Mark Bertolini says premiums for individuals and small businesses could as much as double in 2014, and Modern Healthcare examines what's ahead for the accountable care organizations next year.
Bloomberg: Aetna CEO Sees Obama Health Law Doubling Some Premiums
Health insurance premiums may as much as double for some small businesses and individual buyers in the U.S. when the Affordable Care Act's major provisions start in 2014, Aetna Inc.'s chief executive officer said. While subsidies in the law will shield some people, other consumers who make too much for assistance are in for "premium rate shock," Mark Bertolini, who runs the third-biggest U.S. health-insurance company, told analysts yesterday at a conference in New York. The prospect has spurred discussion of having Congress delay or phase in parts of the law, he said (Nussbaum, 12/13).
Modern Healthcare: More ACOs Coming In New Year
The number of accountable care organizations operating under Medicare's shared-savings program is expected to grow in the coming weeks. The initiative began roughly eight months ago with 27 accountable care organizations and expanded in July to include another 89. Created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the program offers hospitals and doctors financial incentives that are tied to quality goals and targets for cost control. A CMS spokeswoman declined to say how many organizations applied for the upcoming round of ACOs or how many would be named, but confirmed the start date of Jan. 1. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, also created by the health care reform law, also launched 32 accountable care organizations nearly a year ago (Evans, 12/12).
And in another look ahead --
California Healthline: Five Things To Watch In Health Care In 2013
In health care, the mix of ever-shifting technologies, laws and competitive landscape means that many patients' lives (and industry dollars) rest on whether providers and regulators can make the right bets. And some years, the industry's direction is relatively easy to predict. … What will be significant in 2013 is a bit murkier, though several major developments await in the months ahead. A slew of ACA-related provisions are slated to take effect, with new taxes and programs like the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative slated to come online. Both parties continue to discuss entitlement reforms, which could include raising the Medicare eligibility age. ... Here are five broader trends that industry observers are watching (Diamond, 12/12).
Meanwhile, the United Nations favors universal coverage --
The Washington Post: Obamacare Everywhere: U.N. Votes In Favor Of Universal Health Coverage
The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a draft resolution supporting universal health coverage, signaling the importance of universal health care to the international development agenda (Khazan, 12/12).
The Hill: U.S. Backs United Nations Measure In Favor Of Universal Health Coverage
The United States has backed a United Nations draft resolution favoring universal health care coverage. The nonbinding measure calls on U.N. member states to ensure citizens' access to health insurance, and was approved by the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday. Supporters say the draft resolution paves the way for the post-2015 development agenda to include universal health coverage. Health insurance for all promotes "sustained, inclusive and equitable growth, social cohesion and well-being of the population," the U.N. said (Viebeck, 12/12).