Some Consumers Find Surprises As They Explore Health Law Plans

Many plans offered on the health marketplaces will take a chunk out of consumers' wallets, Politico reports. Meanwhile, The Associated Press examines a dilemma for some parents who find their children qualify for Medicaid and can't go on the same plan as their parents.

Politico: Deductibles May Create Obamacare Surprises
Skimpy, pre-Obamacare insurance plans are being phased out, but some of the more comprehensive plans being sold in the new marketplaces carry hefty deductibles consumers have to pay before all their benefits kick in. ... Granted, they're just one part of what people end up paying, and the health law caps out of pocket spending. And not every new health plan carries higher deductibles than the old, individual market plans, despite claims by some Republicans hostile to the law. But deductibles -- the amount a customer must generally spend before their policy kicks in -- can still take a big unexpected chunk out of shoppers' wallets (Winfield Cunningham, 1/26).

The Associated Press: Health Overhaul Law Gets Tricky When Kids Might Be Eligible For Medicaid But Parents Are Not
Families shopping for health insurance through the new federal marketplace are running into trouble getting everyone covered when children are eligible for Medicaid but their parents are not. Children who qualify for Medicaid, the safety-net program for the poor and disabled, can't be included on subsidized family plans purchased through the federal marketplace, a fact that is taking many parents by surprise and leaving some kids stuck without coverage (Ramer, 1/26).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: HHS Releases Poverty Guidelines For 2014
The federal government has released slightly higher poverty level guidelines for 2014, but those won't alter the income thresholds that are being used now to determine what kind of financial assistance is available to buy insurance under the health law (Rau, 1/27).

The Fiscal Times: Confusion Over Deadlines Jeopardizes Obamacare
As the enrollment deadline approaches for Obamacare, The White House is counting on a surge of sign ups. But more than half of Americans have no idea when that deadline is, and even more are shrugging it off because they believe it will be extended. Despite the administration's outreach efforts, a new Bankrate survey shows 55 percent still aren't aware of the March 31 health care sign up deadline through the exchanges. Nearly 25 percent believe it already passed on January 1, and 11 percent think they still have until December 31, 2014 to sign up -- nine months late (Ehley, 1/27).

The Wall Street Journal: New Benefits Come With Obamacare
Coverage for pregnancy and childbirth? Check. Mental-health care? Prescription drugs? Check and check. People who buy health insurance as on their own are seeing big changes as their coverage gets more comprehensive this year. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires that all new plans offered in 2014 cover a set of "essential health benefits," some at no cost to enrollees. The benefits are modeled after those typically offered by large employers and fall into 10 broad categories (Gerencher, 1/26).

Bloomberg: Economists See Little Effect On Hiring From U.S. Health-Care Law
The vast majority of U.S. companies said the implementation of the Obama administration's health-care law will have no effect on their businesses or hiring plans, according to results of a poll issued today. About 75 percent of those surveyed said the Affordable Care Act hasn't influenced their planning or expectations for 2014, according to data from the National Association for Business Economics. Twenty-one percent of 64 respondents said that the law would have a negative impact on business conditions and 5 percent said it will be positive (Torres, 1/27).

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