KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Bigger Challenges Forecast For Health Law’s Second Sign-Up Drive

Enrolling new customers will be more complicated this time around because potential enrollees may be harder to reach, reports The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Fox News looks at the potential risks of automatic re-enrollment for consumers. The law's impact on hospitals, insurance companies and uninsured people is also in the news.

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Coverage Expansion Gets Tougher
A nationwide effort to enroll consumers in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is getting under way, and it is even more complicated than it was in the first year. Insurance companies, states and the Obama administration have two missions for the law's second major enrollment period. They want to draw millions of new, harder-to-attract enrollees to the law's insurance exchanges, while also ensuring that existing customers retain their health plans for 2015. Marketplaces are scheduled to open for enrollment Nov. 15 (Armour and Radnofsky, 9/28).

Fox News: Automatically Re-Enrolling In Obamacare Could Pose Dangers, Analysts Warn
After the rocky rollout last fall of the ObamaCare website, the administration wants to re-enroll those already in the system in hopes of avoiding another technological embarrassment. But analysts warn that just blindly re-enrolling could mean trouble for consumers. “This notion of just sit back and re-enroll is really misleading and I think could cause a lot of harm to people," said Bob Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates (Angle, 9/27).

Dayton Daily News: Obamacare Brings Dramatic Changes For Uninsured, Hospitals, Insurers
The impact the Affordable Care Act has had on the previously uninsured and low and middle income families cannot be understated as millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Ohioans have gained access to health coverage for the first time through the health insurance marketplace launched last year. But the consumer impact is just one part of the health care law’s overall impact on a complex network of hospitals, insurance companies and other stakeholders, each focused on a critical area of health care. Here are their stories (Tucker, 9/27).

Seattle Times: Harborview Busy As Ever, Even More With People Insured
Nowhere illustrates the complexity of delivering medical care in the era of health-care reform better than Harborview Medical Center’s 47-bed Emergency Department. As King County’s largest safety-net hospital, Harborview’s specific mission is to care for patients who are most in need, giving it a disproportionate share of patients who are poor or homeless and uninsured. Last year alone, Harborview provided $219 million in so-called “charity” care, nearly a fifth of all the nonreimbursed care provided in the entire state, according UW Medicine, the organization that manages the King County-owned hospital. Many of those patients, even ones who don’t have urgent medical issues, wind up in Harborview’s ED. The Affordable Care Act is supposed to ease the financial burden of unpaid hospital bills by expanding medical-insurance coverage to those who don’t have it, allowing hospitals to get compensated for the care they deliver to the poor. The initial results are promising (Beason, 9/26).

Kaiser Health News: Scrambling To Prove He’s Eligible For Obamacare
On Sept. 4 -- five months after the end of open enrollment -- Covered California sent out notices in English and Spanish to 98,000 families who bought plans on the exchange alerting them that their legal status could not be verified. As many as 50,000 households still remain unverified and must meet a Tuesday deadline to prove that they are citizens or legal U.S. residents, or risk losing coverage. If deemed ineligible, the letters said, applicants could be liable to repay the tax credits they received, plus interest. By the time Mancinelli got his letter, he had only days to comply (Hernandez, 9/29).

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