Jay Hancock joined Kaiser Health News in 2012 from The Baltimore Sun, where he wrote a column on business and finance. Previously he covered the State Department and the economics beat for The Sun and health care for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and the Daily Press of Newport News. He has a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. | Contact: JayH@kff.org
Under the president's plan, insurers will be permitted to extend this year's policies into next year, but it’s far from clear that insurers will want to follow through. Some state regulators may not even let them.
Numbers released by the government Wednesday deepened doubts about the law’s immediate viability, and proposed fixes have shortcomings.
The health law is being blamed for policy cancellations and replacement rate shock. But in Alabama, some say a lack of competition among insurance companies is a big part of the problem.
Insurance companies confirm a small number of successful signups through the federal website.
The federal health insurance marketplace continued to frustrate consumers Wednesday with delays and software failures, but some people also reported progress.
The online marketplaces, also known as exchanges, sell plans effective as soon as Jan. 1. But they got a rocky launch, with software glitches in some cases and implementation delays in others.
Among the insights: Competition lowers prices, options vary widely by location, and insurers think consumers prefer low premiums to low copays and deductibles.
Experts expect people who are between jobs to gradually transfer to exchanges, a trend projected to save large employers billions in medical claims for ex-employees.
Employers are raising deductibles, giving workers health savings accounts, mimicking the health law’s online insurance marketplaces and nudging patients to shop around for treatments.
Nobody has a bigger financial stake in the success of Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges than hospitals. And few may work harder to sign up consumers than hospitals themselves.