KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Calif. Reports More Than 900,000 People Have Signed Up For Health Plans

But officials note that the number of Latinos and young people enrolling on the state marketplace is still below expectations. Meanwhile, the troubled Maryland exchange is reportedly gearing up to adopt the technology used by Connecticut.

Los Angeles Times: Covered California Enrolls Nearly 1 Million In Health Plans
California is nearing 1 million people enrolled in Obamacare coverage, but the state's insurance exchange is still running behind in signing up Latinos and young people. In figures released Thursday, the state said 923,832 people had picked a health plan through March 9, and about 1.5 million people have enrolled or been deemed eligible for an expansion of Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program for the poor (Terhune and Karlamangla, 3/13).

The Associated Press: California Health Exchange Enrolls 900,000 So Far
About 924,000 people have picked insurance plans through California's health care exchange as the race continues to attract more Latinos and younger people ahead of the enrollment deadline later this month. "We've done a good job in this state, but we are not satisfied. We need to get more people insured," Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said Thursday during a rally at the historic Olvera Street Mexican marketplace in downtown Los Angeles (Chang, 3/13).

The Baltimore Sun: Maryland Looks To Connecticut As Exchange Model
Maryland will likely dump all or part of the state's health insurance exchange website and adopt Connecticut's system, a move that could make it the first state to abandon a dysfunctional site. Officials with Maryland's exchange plan to turn to the "Connecticut solution," which was developed largely by Deloitte Consulting LLC and considered among the most successful in enrolling consumers in private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, said two sources with knowledge of the situation (Cohn, 3/13).

In Oregon, the exchange board met -

The Associated Press: Cover Oregon: Exchange Won't Launch In March
Officials with Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange said the full online Cover Oregon portal will not be open to the public before the end of March, when nearly all Americans are required to have insurance under the federal health care law. The exchange's chief information officer Aaron Karjala told Cover Oregon board members Thursday that the portal has experienced "an unacceptable number of IT errors" and system-stability problems since Cover Oregon launched the online enrollment system for insurance agents and community organizations in mid-February (3/13).

The Oregonian: With March 31 Health Coverage Deadline Approaching, Oregon Hopes For Longer
As the March 31 deadline nears for Oregonians seeking health coverage, Cover Oregon health insurance exchange officials remain hopeful for some sort of grace period beyond that date. Cover Oregon's acting director, Bruce Goldberg, told the exchange board Thursday that discussions with the federal government are ongoing to get permission for Oregon to have a "special enrollment period." Thursday's discussion is significant because earlier this week federal officials appeared to rule out an extension of the open-enrollment deadline -- a request made by Oregon -- in a conference call with reporters (Budnick, 3/13).

And in news about state debates on the expansion of Medicaid -

The Washington Post: McAuliffe Visits Pr. William Health Clinic In Campaign For Medicaid Expansion
One after another, the patients at the new Prince William County health clinic told Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) why they need health insurance. Unable to find full-time work since she was laid off in 2009, Catherine Brooks, 54, borrows money from an old high school friend so she can see a kidney specialist and get her teeth cleaned (Zauzmer, 3/13).

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