Despite new IRS rule, employers can still send workers to the online marketplaces

Nothing stops companies from canceling their health plans, as long as they pay the relevant taxes and penalties, KHN reports. Meanwhile other outlets examine some of the issues hospitals and doctors are facing under the health law.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Can Employers Dump Workers To Health Exchange? Yes, For A Price
The latest tweak from the Internal Revenue Service essentially prohibits employers from giving workers tax-free dollars to buy policies in the online public marketplaces created by the health law. ... Nothing stops employers from canceling company plans and leaving workers to buy individual policies sold through the exchanges -; as long as they pay the relevant taxes and penalties, said Christopher Condeluci, a Venable lawyer specializing in benefits and taxes. Those will vary according to a company's size and circumstances (Hancock, 5/28).

The Hill: Hospitals Face ACA Uninsured Funding Gap
Hospitals are in a state of uncertainty as to how to cover the funding gap from uninsured patients as Medicaid and Medicare are expected to decrease payments for those bills. A new report from the Urban Institute in the most recent Health Affairs journal notes Medicare payments to help compensate for the cost of treating the uninsured in hospitals are set to drop this year as more get coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Similar payments for Medicaid will begin to fall starting in 2016, which means the healthcare providers might have to take a larger financial hit (Al-Faruque, 5/27).

Medscape: Most Medical Groups Are In ACA Exchanges And Dislike It 
Group practices are participating in new insurance plans created by healthcare reform by and large, but they are grumbling about it, mostly because of administrative hassles and narrow provider networks, according to a new survey by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). Almost 77% of MGMA members have agreed to be network providers in 1 or more private insurance plans sold through state marketplaces, or exchanges, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The leading reason for signing up, cited by 58% of participants, was to remain competitive in their local market (Lowes, 5/27).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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