KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Colorado Continues Preparing For Exchange Challenges

Meanwhile, researchers say that if Connecticut's streamlined enrollment process works well, it could mean a significant jump in the number of people who gain insurance for the first time.

Bloomberg: Colorado's Data Tangle Shows Strain For Obamacare Targets
With 33 days and counting until online health insurance exchanges must open for business, states are racing to fine-tune computer systems, educate consumers and manage expectations. Marketplaces in California and Oregon said this month that technical hurdles may force consumers to apply with a broker or counselor instead of online when the exchanges start Oct. 1 (Oldham and Linskey, 8/29).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Exchange Preps For Snafus – Like Squirrels
In Colorado, an exchange of a different sort — Connect for Health Colorado — is bracing for different disasters: blizzards, floods and severed data lines. But the most likely potential problems center on connections with Colorado’s Medicaid computers, insurance industry websites and the federal data hub, which must provide information on tax subsidies to help cut the cost of new health plans (Kerwin McCrimmon, 8/28).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Confused About Obamacare? There's An App For That
While politicians continue to argue over the fate of Obamacare, consumers are deeply confused about what reform may mean to them and how they can find help. A new tool aimed at delivering answers debuted in Colorado this week: the Blue Guide from the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. It’s mobile. It offers statewide information. And if you tell the website or app where you are, it will use geolocation to instantly show you nearby clinics, mental health centers or assistance sites where you can sign up for health insurance once Colorado’s new health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, launches on Oct. 1 (Kerwin McCrimmon, 8/28).

The Seattle Times: Questions Arise Over Coverage For Abortion In Group Health Plans
After Group Health Cooperative confirmed Tuesday that it has dropped abortion coverage in the individual health-insurance plans to be sold inside the state’s new exchange marketplace — but will provide access to elective abortion in its medical centers without extra cost — a number of questions arose (Ostrom, 8/28).

CT Mirror Easier Enrollment Process Could Mean Thousands More With Coverage Under Obamacare, Researchers Say
Having a seamless, one-stop shopping process for state residents to enroll in health care coverage could ensure that an additional 26,000 people get insurance, and 36,000 avoid losing their coverage, according to research released this week. It comes amid questions about how easy it will be for the uninsured to enroll in coverage as part of federal health reform, and about how the process will be affected by outdated technology and delays in handling applications at the state Department of Social Services (Becker, 8/28).

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