Week ahead: Moment of truth for premiums

Week ahead: Moment of truth for premiums
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It’s the final countdown.

The Obama administration is making its final push this week before the ObamaCare marketplaces open for business on November 1.

That date will also mark the deadline for the remaining states that have not yet made public their rate hikes for next year.


Already, states including Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas have announced increases of 30 percent or more. For some customers, the increases will be more staggering: the market leader in Arizona, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee will all increase rates by 50 percent or more.

President Obama sought to calm fears about those increases in his big healthcare speech last Thursday, trying to downplay the “negative the headlines" being seen across the country.

He blamed insurers for setting their prices “too low at the outset” as well as GOP leaders who have been “hostile” to enrollment efforts.

This week, the speech to watch will be HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan at Wednesday’s webinar on the future of the exchanges.

He’ll speak alongside insurer representatives like Florida Blue, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee – which have all seen vastly different results under ObamaCare.

Counihan will also likely talk about this year’s aggressive outreach strategy, which health officials have described as broader as well as more targeted towards populations like young people.

Looking ahead to 2017, the administration will also talk up the next year for Medicare and Medicaid at the annual conference hosted by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

CMS officials Andy Slavitt and Dr. Patrick Conway will take the stage at the Medicare conference and Dr. Victoria Wachino will address Medicaid. Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe will also speak on Medicaid, with a possible focus on his own failed efforts to approve expansion in his state.

This week will also offer a dose of policy – specifically, the best strategies to prevent the scourge of drug-related overdoses across the country.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) will headline an event by the American Enterprise Institute on Monday afternoon dedicated to fighting the addiction epidemic.

The panel will also include former White House adviser Van Jones and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who – along with Gingrich – are co-founders of the group, Advocates for Opioid Recovery.


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