KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tech Experts Brace For Glitches When Health Exchange Websites Come Online

As planners race to finish building the online marketplaces that consumers can begin using Oct. 1 to shop for health insurance, experts expect some difficulties, according to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, CQ HealthBeat examines whether the deductibles and out-of-pocket caps applied in these marketplaces will be too high.

The Wall Street Journal: Planners Expect Glitches In Health-Exchange Sites
Teams of technology experts are racing to finish building government websites that will allow people to shop and sign up for health insurance this October. People involved in the effort say to expect some problems, at least initially. The functioning of the websites—which will enable people without health insurance to enroll in plans offered through a federal or state insurance exchange—will play a major role in determining whether the Affordable Care Act is deemed a success or failure, since the 2010 law's prime objective was to bring coverage to those who lack it (Dooren, 6/6).

CQ HealthBeat: Are Deductibles And Out-Of-Pocket Caps Too High In Marketplaces?
High cost-sharing in the new marketplaces may deter some healthy people from buying coverage, the chief executive of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield said in an interview Thursday. Chet Burrell, CareFirst president and CEO, said the plans insurers will offer that are set at the bronze level and silver level of benefits called for under the health law "have huge amounts of cost sharing for members" (Adams, 6/6).

Also in the news, state implementation developments from New Hampshire and Maryland -

The Associated Press: NH Senate Kills Health Overhaul Bill
The state Senate on Thursday killed a bill aimed at aligning state insurance rules with President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, but the same provisions will be revisited when lawmakers negotiate over a separate bill. Opponents cast the bill as an attempt to move New Hampshire toward a state-operated marketplace, something specifically prohibited by a state law passed last session (Ramer, 6/6).

CQ HealthBeat: Maryland Outreach Groups Get a Heavy Dose Of Health Law's Complexities
Maryland officials convened a summit this week to fire up outreach groups charged with enrolling the uninsured in health coverage this fall, and the daunting size and complexity of the job quickly became apparent. It was clear from the morning-long meeting Wednesday of several hundred community, church, social services, and local health officials that even in a well organized, committed state like Maryland, expanding health coverage this fall and winter under the health law is going to be a heavy, heavy lift (Reichard, 6/6).

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