Latest California Healthline Stories
Premiums will grow by an average of 0.8% next year on the state health insurance exchange. Officials cite two new policies for the relatively low rate hike: a new state tax penalty on Californians who don’t have health insurance coupled with state-based tax credits to help enrollees afford their premiums, including middle-income people who make too much money to qualify for federal financial aid.
Even though the number of people renewing their Covered California health plans increased this year, new enrollment plunged by nearly a quarter compared with last year, posting a bigger drop than the federal health insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, which saw a 16 percent decrease. Officials largely blame the elimination of the federal tax penalty for people without insurance.
A new report shows that Hispanics, young people, the healthy and the poor — all groups with high rates of uninsurance before the Affordable Care Act — are the most likely to forgo insurance now that the tax penalty for not having it has been eliminated.
The state health insurance exchange hired hip-hop dancers in communities across the state as part of its promotion of open enrollment, which ends Jan. 15.
The case is not expected to have an immediate effect on coverage for people who buy plans on the federal health law marketplaces because the case is likely to go to the Supreme Court — the third time that the justices will decide the fate of the landmark health law.
To keep costs down, Blue Shield of California next year will scale back on a program allowing members to receive a wide range of care beyond the state’s borders. Customers with individual plans mostly won’t be able to get coverage out of state except for emergencies or other exceptional circumstances.
As consumers weigh health insurance options during open enrollment, location matters. Some parts of the country are seeing drops in premiums while others are experiencing another year of sticker shock.
After a San Francisco speech focused mostly on Medicare, Seema Verma fielded questions that underscored the administration’s differences with California on other key health care issues.
California Healthline senior correspondent Chad Terhune joins a discussion on Southern California Public Radio about last week’s premium hikes in the state health insurance marketplace.
The average increase in California is smaller than the double-digit hikes expected around the nation, due largely to a healthier mix of enrollees and more competition in its marketplace. Still, health insurance prices keep growing faster than wages and general inflation.