KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

As Opening Day Approaches, Health Law Advocates Caution The Public To Be Ready For Some Marketplace Glitches

Stateline examines concerns about what could go wrong, and other news outlets look at enrollment, outreach and implementation efforts for the online marketplaces that will sell insurance policies.

Stateline: Expect Snags In Affordable Care Act Rollout
There will be glitches when the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented starting Oct. 1. Huge glitches. Many glitches. Bet on it. That is a prediction not only from those resolutely opposed to the ACA. Even those quite excited about President Barack Obama's federal health law have the same expectation: The rollout of the biggest new social program in nearly 50 years is not going to be pretty. "When you're dealing with tens of millions of new clients, mistakes are inevitable," said Henry Aaron, a health economist at the Brookings Institution. "You're going to have thousands of mistakes" (Ollove, 9/19).

The Wall Street Journal: Big Insurers Skip Health Exchanges
Instead, the insurance companies that are likely to draw attention on the exchanges—which are expected to enroll an estimated 7 million Americans in the first year—are lesser-known, and in many cases will be offering comparatively lower rates. The biggest health insurers are eschewing many of the exchanges out of concern that many of the individuals who will purchase coverage need it because they have chronic illnesses or other medical conditions that are expensive to treat (Martin, 9/18).

The CT Mirror: Obamacare: Doctor, Hospital Participation In Exchange Health Plans Still Being Determined
As [Connecticut's] new insurance marketplace prepares to begin selling coverage in less than two weeks, officials are still waiting to find out which doctors, hospitals and other health care providers will accept the health plans being offered. ... Chad Brooker, chief exchange policy and legal analyst for Access Health CT, the new marketplace, said the insurance companies consider the provider lists proprietary and haven't shared them. But the information is expected to be available in searchable form by Oct. 1, when customers will be able to shop for health plans through Access Health (Becker, 9/18).

McClatchy: As Enrollment In Health Care Law Looms, Some States Erect Roadblocks
The individuals and groups tasked with helping people enroll for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are facing a stiff head wind of restrictive laws, regulations and outright obstruction in some Republican-led states. In Florida, health officials won't allow these so-called "navigators" onto county health department properties to help uninsured people sign up for coverage in the new state insurance marketplaces. In Georgia, state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens recently told a gathering of Republican supporters that the state would do "everything in our power to be an obstructionist" of the Affordable Care Act (Pugh, 9/18).

The Texas Tribune: Ahead Of Health Care Rollout, Groups Seek To Answer Questions
As Gov. Rick Perry pushes for tighter rules on workers trained to help uninsured residents purchase health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Texans can still turn to counselors, hotlines and websites for answers to lingering questions (Zaragovia, 9/19).

Fox News: States Roll Out Trippy Obamcare Ads To Lure The Uninsured
Oregon is in the running to win the prize for the weirdest commercial hyping ObamaCare. The state recently rolled out a 30-second acid-trip-style ad to tout its new healthcare exchange, Cover Oregon. The commercial, part of a multi-million-dollar ad buy that has conservative watchdog groups fuming, features a cartoon man who is lifted into the air after his magical guitar sprouts white wings (Chakraborty, 9/18).

The Seattle Times: Obamacare Signup Is By Computer – And Some Of Us Don't Have One
The 15 percent of Washington households that lack Internet access might be missing out on trivial matters such as videos of the latest celebrity gaff or Facebook updates from nearly forgotten high school friends. But come next month, these residents are also going to have a harder time signing up for health insurance available as a result of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare (Stiffler, 9/18).

Kansas Health Institutes: Kansas Lands It First Marketplace Navigator
Kansas has its first certified health insurance marketplace navigator. … Starting Oct. 1, he'll be one of about 250 navigators who are expected to begin helping Kansans enroll in plans available through the new health insurance marketplace, a key element of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Ranney, 9/18).

Minnesota Public Radio: MNsure Client Aid Organizations Feeling Squeezed
MNsure wants Ruby Lee's organization to spread the word to Latino communities about the state's new health insurance marketplace. But MNsure, she says, is not making it easy. With MNsure's opening less than two weeks away, Lee's contract with MNsure wasn't finalized until Monday. She won't tap any of the nearly $100,000 contract funding until MNsure approves her overall spending plan. Lee said delays at MNsure have prevented her from hiring anyone to assist consumers with enrollment, and she has no idea when she can start training those people once she does hire them (Richert and Stawicki, 9/19).

The Star Tribune: Minnesota's Young 'Invincibles' Are Key To Health Insurance Overhaul
As Minnesota and other states get ready to launch new insurance exchanges on Oct. 1, one of the big challenges is persuading people to buy coverage. Minnesota's MNsure exchange is firing up an all-out marketing blitz, with young adults one of the key audiences. To keep costs low for everyone, insurers will have to get as many people paying for coverage as possible. The idea is to spread the cost of caring for older and sicker patients across large numbers of people with relatively few health care needs (Crosby, 9/18).

The Star Tribune: Dayton Calls MNsure Breach 'An Honest Mistake'
Gov. Mark Dayton is pushing back at critics of MNsure, the state's fledgling health insurance exchange. MNsure, an online marketplace expected to connect more than 1 million Minnesotans to private health coverage, will begin enrolling its first customers on October 1. On the rocky road to that rollout, the agency has come under fire for a series of missteps. Most recently, a MNsure employee mistakenly emailed personal data – including social security numbers – of thousands of insurance agents to another broker (Brooks, 9/18).

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