Health Costs Inch Up as Obamacare Kicks In

By Jay Hancock, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News Doctors and hospitals treated more patients and collected more payments in the spring as millions gained insurance coverage under the health law, new figures from the government show. But analysts called the second-quarter increases modest and said there is little evidence to suggest that wider coverage and a recovering economy are pushing health spending growth to the painful levels of a decade ago. >> 8 Things You Need to Know About Medicare …

Overall, Obamacare Premiums to Fall in 2015

By Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News In preliminary but encouraging news for consumers and taxpayers, insurance filings show that average premiums will decline slightly next year in 16 major cities for a benchmark Obamacare plan. Prices for a benchmark “silver” or mid-priced plan sold through the health law’s online marketplaces aren’t all moving in the same direction, however, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) In Nashville, the premium …

Head of Connecticut Health Exchange to Lead Healthcare.gov

By Jeff Cohen, WNPR, and Diane Webber, Kaiser Health News This story is part of a partnership that includes WNPR, NPR and Kaiser Health News. Kevin Counihan, the head of Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace, will be the new CEO of healthcare.gov, the website that 36 states use to sell insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the administration announced Tuesday. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell tapped Counihan to lead the site as part of a revamped …

Survey: Most Buyers on Insurance Exchanges Were Uninsured

By Julie Appleby, KHN Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News Nearly 6 in 10 Americans who bought insurance for this year through the health law’s online marketplaces were previously uninsured – most for at least two years, according to a new survey that looks at the experiences of those most affected by the law. That finding is higher than some earlier estimates and counters arguments made by critics of the law that most of those who purchased the new policies were previously insured. The survey also found that consumers …

Just How Strong Did Healthcare.gov Finish?

By Phil Galewitz, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News Obama administration officials predict that health insurance premiums will be stable next year despite concerns that not enough young and healthy people signed up through the online insurance exchanges. “The risk pool is fundamentally large and varied to support that kind of pricing … in every state,” said Mike Hash, the director of the Health and Human Services Department’s office of health reform. “We believe … premiums will be stable.” The upbeat …

Who Really Pays for Health Care? It’s Not Who You Think

By Jay Hancock, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News Eight million Americans have signed up for private health insurance – much of it government subsidized – under the Affordable Care Act. Millions more obtained new coverage through Medicaid, the government-sponsored insurance program for low-income people. The full implementation of the law – along with its wider coverage, new taxes and shifting subsidies - has brought renewed discussions and debates over the winners and the losers in the new health care landscape. Here are …