KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Big Insurers ‘MIA’ From State-Based Exchanges

CNN reports that health plans such as Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Cigna are practicing watchful waiting to see how the launch of these online marketplaces and the 2014 push to expand coverage rolls out. Meanwhile, California's exchange will be ready, according to its executive director, and most uninsured Kentuckians will receive discounts, says the governor.

CNN: Big Insurers Ditch Obamacare Exchanges
When Americans start shopping on the state-based exchanges next month, a couple of big insurers will likely be MIA. Several of the larger players, including Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Cigna, are treading cautiously into Obamacare, waiting to see how the start of the massive health care reform pans out in 2014 (Luhby, 9/10).

The Wall Street Journal: California Says Health Exchange Will Be Ready
The assurance is a change from three weeks ago, when Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said the exchange might "phase in support" for online enrollment. Since then, Mr. Howard said, exchange officials have completed tests of the online system, including creating accounts, selecting plans and assessing eligibility for subsidies. "The core functionality has passed its test," he said (Thurm, 9/10).

Louisville Courier-Journal: Gov. Steve Beshear: Most Uninsured Kentuckians Will Receive Discounts Through Health Exchange
Eighty-five percent of the roughly 332,000 Kentuckians without health insurance will be able to obtain coverage at discounted prices through the state's new health exchange, Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday. During a Capitol press conference, Beshear sought to rebuff critics of the exchange, part of the controversial Affordable Care Act, who contend insurance premiums will skyrocket at almost twice the current rates. He predicted most purchasers will be "very excited" when they receive their individual premiums through open enrollment, which begins Oct. 1 (Wynn, 9/10).

NPR: Health Insurance Ads Range From Weighty To Whimsical
Some states are cracking wise in ads about the exchanges, where people will be able to shop for insurance starting in October. Others are rolling out catchy jingles. Some are all business. But in each case, the states are looking to persuade uninsured Americans, especially young ones, to go ahead and buy health insurance. Starting next year, just about everyone in the U.S. will be required to have health insurance (O’Neill, 9/10).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): New Red Light Warning For Colorado Exchange
Twenty-two days before the slated opening of Colorado’s new health exchange, the project manager issued yet another red light warning, signaling that data-sharing with Colorado’s Medicaid systems may not work by Oct. 1 and that Connect for Health Colorado managers might have to shift to contingency plans. On top of troubles meshing with the state’s Medicaid systems, managers at Connect for Health Colorado are contending with IT snafus from the federal government (Kerwin McCrimmon, 9/10).

Also in the news, the SEIU is getting involved in the enrollment effort --

Politico: SEIU Joins Sebelius Efforts In Cross-Country Obamacare Push
Obamacare got a renewed show of support Tuesday from the SEIU after some other key unions have complained that the law they advocated for could undermine their members' health insurance. Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry announced that it will partner with advocacy groups, including Enroll America and Families USA, to help the Department of Health and Human Services promote Obamacare in 30 cities in coming weeks (Norman, 9/11).

Finally, here's an update on how the Medicaid expansion is playing in Missouri -

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Draft Report: Missourians Favor Medicaid Expansion
They traveled to six, far-flung Missouri cities. They held marathon public hearings. They got detailed state briefings. So what did the 52-member House Citizens and Legislators Working Group on Medicaid Eligibility and Reform conclude? That people want both Medicaid expansion and reform. A seven-page draft report circulated by state Rep. Noel Torpey, R-Independence, the group’s chairman, ends with that statement. There is no elaboration. The rest of the report generally highlights testimony received, without naming witnesses (Young, 9/11).

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