KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Report Vastly Differently Obamacare Enrollment Experiences

Navigators in states relying on the federal website to enroll people in coverage are focused on education while they wait for fixes, while officials in states like New York and Washington with functional websites are reporting high demand and enrollment. Meanwhile, consumer advocates express skepticism about directing people in federal exchange states to call centers as a way to enroll. 

Kaiser Health News: Are Federal Call Centers Up To The Task Of Enrolling Millions In Health Plans?
Centers like these were touted by President Barack Obama this week as one of several alternatives for consumers having trouble shopping and enrolling in plans through, the bug-ridden website run by the federal government for residents of 36 states ... But consumer advocates say the centers were never meant to be an alternative to the insurance exchange website. They were conceived of as a supplement – a way to offer some consumers more help to understand their options (Galewitz, 10/24).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Navigators Tread Water As Website Problems Continue
Navigators in states relying on the flawed federal exchange are focusing on bolstering excitement and education about the law as they wait for fixes to the website (Gold, 10/24).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: A View From The States: Health Care Continues Stumbling Startup
States are making some progress getting customers signed up for health insurance. But it isn’t pretty. Here is a roundup of dispatches from KHN’s radio partners at NPR member stations (10/24).

The Associated Press: SD Officials: Few Details On Health Care Enrollees
South Dakota insurance regulators said Tuesday they don't know a lot about the people signing up for health insurance under the new health care law because the online market is run by the federal government. Members of the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee asked state insurance officials about the characteristics of the more than two dozen South Dakotans who have signed up for insurance since the online health exchange started operating Oct. 1 (10/23).

The Associated Press: 174,000 Have Applied For Coverage In NY Through Health Care Exchange
New York's health insurance marketplace reported Wednesday having received 174,000 completed applications for new coverage starting next year, accounting for a large share of initial signups nationally under the Affordable Care Act. About 500,000 applications have been filed through federal and state marketplaces, also known as exchanges, since they launched three weeks ago with systems plagued by technical problems, Obama administration officials have said (Virtanen, 10/23).

The Seattle Times: Health Exchange Indundated With Calls, Plans To Double Staff
Faced with many more calls to its toll-free hotline than expected, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange plans to dramatically scale up resources for its customer-service center in Spokane. Calls have been pouring in to the call center from residents around the state seeking to enroll in coverage through the online insurance marketplace, called Washington Healthplanfinder, which opened Oct. 1 (Landa, 10/23).

Bloomberg: Tale Of Two Obamacares As Some States Bypass U.S. Site
Don’t tell Elisabeth Benjamin it’s tough to sign up for Obamacare. For two weeks, she has been enrolling uninsured people from her New York City office through an online marketplace created by the law. Most recently, she helped a Bronx home-health worker in her 30s get health coverage for $70 a month (Pettypiece, Klopott and Newkirk, 10/24).

Kansas Health Institute: The Kansas Insurance Marketplace That Might Have Been
Perhaps it is a case of could-have-been. Two years ago, Gov. Sam Brownback rejected a $31.5 million federal grant to set up a health insurance marketplace tailored for Kansas — defaulting instead to the federally run marketplace that was launched Oct. 1 but which continues to be beset by problems (Cauthon, 10/21).

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