KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Insurance Exchanges Likely To Offer Wide Choice

NBC News reports the exchanges may offer an "overwhelming" array of plans to choose from to people who have not purchased insurance before. Other media detail how the federal government is attempting to streamline the enrollment process and how states are racing to meet deadlines to set up the marketplaces.

NBC News: Health Insurance Exchanges: Be Ready To Be Overwhelmed
Twenty-four states now have been approved to set up their own health insurance exchanges, just seven months before people can start to enroll. That leaves the federal government to run 26 exchanges according to its own rules. No one's quite sure yet what they will look like, but it's becoming increasingly clear that many of them, at least, will provide an overwhelming range of choices for millions of people who may never have had to choose health insurance before (Fox, 3/13).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Dick And Jane Sign Up For The Exchange
Signing up for health insurance is intimidating — even if you know you might get some help paying for it. The federal government is trying hard to come up with a way to make the process a bit more palatable — about as simple as, say, doing your taxes online (Gold, 3/13).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Colorado Sets Its Exchange Fee 
The price of policies in Colorado's health insurance exchange will include a 1.4 percent fee to help fund exchange operations. The state's exchange board voted to enact the fee Monday. Board Chairwoman Gretchen Hammer characterized it as lean compared with the 3.5 percent fee the federal government is expected to tack on to policies sold in states that are not setting up their own exchanges (Whitney, 3/13).

The Washington Post: Small-Business Health Exchange Mandate Will Go To D.C. Council
A District board is moving full steam ahead with a controversial plan to require small businesses in the city to purchase their employee health insurance through a government exchange (DeBonis, 3/13).

The Associated Press: Nonprofit Insurance Exchange Plan Clears State House
The state House on Wednesday approved an Idaho-based, nonprofit insurance exchange, a provision of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that inflamed passions of lawmakers during seven hours of debate. The vote was 41-29. All 13 Democrats but a minority of House Republicans, 28 GOP lawmakers, backed the plan pushed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to use about $30 million in federal grants to build Idaho's own insurance exchange (3/13).

HealthyCal: Spreading The Word About California's Health Care Exchange
California's new health insurance marketplace — part of federal health reform — is preparing a massive information blitz to let state residents know about their new options for buying coverage. The health benefit exchange, called Covered California, will start enrolling members in October of this year for insurance coverage that will begin next January (Potter, 3/14).

MinnPost: Three Major Health Exchange Hurdles Remain As Legislators Rush To Meet Deadline
Democrats are racing to come together on Minnesota’s most significant health reform in the last half-century, with just days remaining before the deadlines start rolling in. Health insurance exchange backers say they need to wrap up serious differences in the exchange legislation between both legislative chambers by midnight Wednesday to get the bill to the House floor on Thursday, which has been the goal (Nord, 3/13).

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