Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Insurers Seek Changes to Health Care Law
Subsidies for Americans who buy minimal health coverage are
among the changes to the health care law being sought by the
Insurers say subsidies on such plans would lead more young and
healthy people to get coverage, which would reduce premiums across
the board. Only 2 percent of the 8 million people who signed up for
health insurance this year selected so-called catastrophic plans,
which are not eligible for subsidies, the
This and other proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act were
scheduled to be released Wednesday by America's Health Insurance
Plans, the main industry trade group.
Their other suggestions include simplifying consumers' switch
between insurers and making it easier for patients to find out
which doctors and hospitals are in particular plans, and whether a
plan covers their medications, the
Insurers are currently submitting their proposed premiums for
2015 and it's expected that there will be increases of 10 percent
"What is crucial for public policy leaders is to balance access and affordability," Karen Ignagni, head of America's Health Insurance Plans, told the AP. "Unless people feel that coverage is affordable, they won't participate in the system."
The trade group's suggestion that catastrophic plan premiums be
subsidized could face stiff opposition from consumer groups, which
have a low opinion of such plans. Some of those groups want lower
out-of-pocket costs for people who buy a mid-level plan, the choice
of 65 percent of those who signed up for coverage this year.
While catastrophic plans offer low monthly premiums, consumers
are responsible for a large portion of their yearly medical costs.
The plans are meant to help healthier people avoid financial
hardship due to an unexpected serious illness or an accident, the
In the new insurance exchanges created under the health care
law, catastrophic plans are only available to consumers younger
than 30. The insurance industry wants a catastrophic plan that
would be available to people of any age, eligible for tax credits
provided by the health care law, have an annual limit on
out-of-pocket costs, and provide preventive care at no charge to
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