Healthcare Business News
President Barack Obama

Obama speech to herald reform law benefits

By Rich Daly
Posted: July 17, 2013 - 7:45 pm ET

President Barack Obama on Thursday will tout the benefits that Americans with existing health insurance will receive under his signature healthcare law, as his administration ramps up its promotional campaign to get people to sign up for coverage this fall.

The White House speech will tout the $100 average rebates per family that 8.5 million privately insured Americans, or their employers, will receive from their insurers this summer under the reform law's provision that insurers can't pocket more than 15% to 20% of premiums for profit and administrative costs, according to a senior administration official. The administration credits the policy with reducing premiums and putting money back into the pockets of people with insurance.

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“This is just one of the many ways the Affordable Care Act is giving consumers a better value for their healthcare dollar and making our healthcare system stronger,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said at a Wednesday briefing.

In 2012, health insurance premiums increased by 4%, down from 9% in 2011, according to a survey of 2,000 employers by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Education Trust. The Obama administration has argued that the reform law's provision allowing closer reviews of insurers' rate filings has helped slow rate increases—although double-digit increases remain common particularly in the individual and small-group markets.

Obama's speech comes as his administration begins a multimillion dollar publicity campaign to educate the public about the central components of the law that are rolling out in the fall, and to get them to sign up for subsidized private coverage on the state insurance exchanges and for expanded Medicaid. An estimated 15 million Americans, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, may be eligible in 2014 for coverage on the exchanges or through expanded Medicaid eligibility.

The president's speech comes a day after the Republican-controlled House highlighted the law's unpopular individual mandate by voting to delay it for one year to accompany the Obama's administration's recent decision to delay the employer mandate. Obama issued a veto threat of that bill, but the measure is not expected to go anywhere in the Democrat-led Senate.

Follow Rich Daly on Twitter: @MHrdaly

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