Obamacare roundup

WCCO News: "Nearly 280,000 Minnesotans who pay for their own insurance will receive a letter from their health care provider detailing some small and some large changes to their plans… Some of the new changes required by the Affordable Care Act include ‘essential health benefits’ such as newborn care, mental health and substance abuse services. And those changes have some people up in arms, because it’s forcing their premiums to skyrocket."

Los Angeles Times: "Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don't like what they see. These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years."

CBS News: "In California, Kaiser Permanente terminated policies for 160,000 people. In Florida, at least 300,000 people are losing coverage. That includes 56-year-old Dianne Barrette. Last month, she received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield informing her as of January 2014, she would lose her current plan. Barrette pays $54 a month. The new plan she's being offered would run $591 a month -- 10 times more than what she currently pays. Barrette said, 'What I have right now is what I am happy with and I just want to know why I can't keep what I have. Why do I have to be forced into something else?'"

Forbes: "In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent. As we have long expected, the steepest hikes will be imposed on the healthy, the young, and the male. And Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies will primarily benefit those nearing retirement—people who, unlike the young, have had their whole lives to save for their health-care needs."

Wall Street Journal: "Insurers say the early buyers of health coverage on the nation's troubled new websites are older than expected so far, raising early concerns about the economics of the insurance marketplaces. If the trend continues, an older, more expensive set of customers could drive up prices for everyone, the insurers say, by forcing them to spread their costs around."

Fargo Forum: The state of North Dakota has 17 Obamacare "assisters" or "navigators" who, at least in theory, will be enrolling North Dakotans in health insurance plans via the federal Obamacare exchange. To date, "just 20 North Dakotans have purchased insurance since the marketplace went live Oct. 1."

USA Today: "About one in 10 Americans -- 9% -- say The Affordable Care Act has improved their health insurance situation in the past year, according to a new survey by Bankrate.com…In fact, 38% of uninsured Americans said they feel more negative about the three-year-old law than they did the past year. And 47% of the uninsured say they don't even know where to turn for information on the act."

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