HHS won't penalize low-income patients; 20K small employers to participate in exchange;

> The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services said low-income residents in states that don't participate in the Medicaid expansion will not be penalized under the reform law's individual mandate, the Associated Press reported. Article

> About 200,000 small employers will apply to participate in Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) exchanges starting in 2014, LifeHealthPro reported. The SHOP exchanges either will operate as stand-alone programs or in exchanges serving individuals and small employers. Article

> Insurers and consumer advocates are battling in California over whether the state-based exchange should require participating insurers to cover habilitative services and devices, California Watch reported. "To expand beyond medical services is to invite considerable cost increases, which will be the burden of government and individuals," California Association of Health Plans President Patrick Johnston said. Article

> And Finally… Eat steel bristle, need emergency surgery. Article

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