Health Exchange Cost Estimates Go Up

Meanwhile, uncertainty continues about the premium price tags consumers will pay if they purchase health insurance from these online marketplaces. Also, debate heats up about how the Obama administration hopes to offset the set-up costs.  

Politico: Cost Of Exchanges Shoots Up
The Obama administration's best guess of how much it will spend to subsidize insurance on Obamacare exchanges shot up substantially this year thanks in large part to the U.S. Supreme Court. But while the exchange costs rise, the Medicaid spending will probably be less than initially forecast as some states decline the expansion (Norman, 4/12).

Bloomberg: Obama Trims Details On Health Law As Exchange Cost Rises
The $1.3 trillion U.S. health-care system overhaul is getting more expensive and will initially accomplish less than intended. Costs for a network of health-insurance exchanges, a core part of the Affordable Care Act, have swelled to $4.4 billion for fiscal 2012 and 2013 combined, and will reach $5.7 billion in 2014, according to the budget President Barack Obama yesterday sent to Congress (Wayne, 4/12).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Wait For Obamacare Price Tags Could Be Months
Last week Vermont became the first state to provide a glimpse of how expensive individual health insurance might be under the Affordable Care Act. Proposed rates there, while of questionable relevance to the rest of the country because of the state’s unusual insurance market, showed little change from current prices and reassured health law supporters fearing headlines about "sticker shock" (Hancock, 4/12).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Harkin Accuses Administration Of 'Robbing Peter To Pay Paul'
A Democratic senator chastised the White House Thursday for raiding the health law's Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for a program to help the uninsured sign up for coverage in new insurance marketplaces. "This is robbing Peter to pay Paul," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, told a senior official at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Gold, 4/11).

Here's some health exchange news from Kansas and Massachusetts -

Kansas Health Institute: Kansas Share Of $54M In Grants To Help Consumers Find Insurance Capped At $600,000
Advocacy groups today learned that Kansas' share of a federal grant program meant to help more than 300,000 consumers navigate the state’s health insurance exchanges has been capped at $600,000…Federal officials on Tuesday announced that $54 million in so-called navigator grants were being made available to public and private consumer groups in the 33 states — including Kansas — that have decided to let the federal government administer their exchanges (Ranney, 4/10).

Modern Healthcare: Mass. Health Insurance Exchange Enrollment Hits Record High
Enrollment in Massachusetts’ health insurance exchange has hit an all-time high. In March, 201,178 state residents were enrolled in Commonwealth Care, the program created by Massachusetts’ pioneering 2006 health care reform law to provide subsidized coverage to the lower-income uninsured. The March Commonwealth Care enrollment was 2,900 higher than February and nearly 28,000 higher compared with March 2012 (Geisel, 4/11).

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