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WellPoint, Inc. (WLP), UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH): Three Obamacare Stories You Missed This Week

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Changes related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, roared on as March led in to April Fools’ Day. The slow rollout of the health care program gives us a steady stream of adjustments and finalizations.

This week saw Vermont become the first state to release a premium rate proposal. The Department of Health and Human Services clarified that not all states will receive a waiver for Medicaid expansion alternatives. And some top insurers have a trick up their sleeve to avoid Obamacare requirements until late next year.

WellPoint Inc

Vermont’s premium proposal
Vermont became the first state to release proposed premium rates (link opens PDF) for its health insurance exchange, Vermont Health Connect. The story was notable because the rates were flat with the average rates available in the state prior to Obamacare. But as The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein pointed out, the lack of change was due to Vermont having strict insurance requirements even before the ACA passed.

Average price for individual coverage ranges from $374.18 to $609.47,

but many beneficiaries will receive federal subsidies to help cover some of the cost. The proposal came from the two participating insurers: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP Healthcare. State officials will now review the rates and either suggest changes or finalize. Health insurance exchanges will open in October, offering coverage plans that will begin at the start of 2014.

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