KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States, Feds Continue To Scramble On Health Exchanges, Medicaid Expansion

The Obama administration hires a credit reporting agency to verify the incomes of people who apply for federal subsidies to buy health insurance. Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signs a bill that could make it more difficult to do enrollment outreach there, as federal officials consider ways to implement the law in states led by officials opposed to it.

The New York Times: Credit Reporting Agency Hired To Verify Incomes For Insurance Subsidies
The Obama administration has hired a credit reporting agency to help verify the incomes of people who apply for federal subsidies to buy insurance under the new health care law (Pear, 7/16).

CQ HealthBeat: Certified Counselors May Help Uninsured Enroll In Exchanges In States Hostile To Overhaul
There’s little reason to assume that states whose leaders opposed passage of the health care law are now going to do much to promote the availability of coverage for the uninsured when exchanges open in the fall. Nor is there much evidence officials in those states will do much to help guide consumers through what likely will be a complex process of weighing coverage options, applying for tax credits to cut premium costs, and filling out applications. And federal funds to promote the law will be meager in those states (Reichard, 7/16).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: New State Law Imposes Hurdle For Insurance Exchange
Advocates for uninsured people are worried a bill signed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday could throw a wrench into implementing the upcoming health insurance marketplace. The new state law requires insurance counselors – known as navigators — get state licenses before they begin helping consumers shop for health plans on the exchange (Young, 7/17).

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Large Insurers Opt Out Of Missouri's Health Exchange
When the new health exchange opens for business in Missouri on Oct. 1, at least three major health insurers will not be participating. UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest insurer, said Monday that it won't offer insurance policies this fall in the federally run health exchange in Missouri, but may enter the exchange later. The Minneapolis-based insurer also plans for the time being to stay out of Illinois' health exchange (Doyle, 7/17).

Seattle Times: State Readying To Sign Up 1?Million Uninsured
The hundred-plus people who showed up at Tuesday’s “coverage is here” event — meant to kick off the effort to sign up uninsured Washington residents for health insurance through a new federal law — were one enthusiastic bunch. At a meeting room in downtown Seattle, they stood to cheer as Gov. Jay Inslee, a key Affordable Care Act advocate, took the podium, and they listened raptly as speakers from various health agencies and nonprofits detailed their best ideas for signing up the uninsured (Ostrom, 7/16).

Oregonian: Oregon Receives $2.9 Million To Hire Advisers For Health Exchanges
The federal government is granting Oregon health centers nearly $2.9 million to inform people about health insurance exchanges. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that it will distribute $150 million in grants to more than 1,000 clinics serving poor and uninsured people across the country. The funds will be used to hire nearly 3,000 people who will help advise patients on how to enroll with health insurance marketplaces mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The 28 Oregon health centers receiving the funds are set to hire 49 additional works, who are expected to assist 71,493 people with enrollment with health insurance exchanges, according to the health department (Karlamangla, 7/16).

On Medicaid expansion -

Modern Healthcare: Reform Update: States Scramble To Submit Application For Medicaid Expansion Following Late CMS Rule
A CMS rule issued in early July has set off a scramble among state officials to finalize and submit an application needed to implement their Medicaid expansions allowed by the healthcare reform law. The delay in the rule may push states hard up against the Oct. 1 start of the Medicaid enrollment process for 2014 (Daly, 7/16).

Huffington Post: Blame States For Not Expanding Medicaid, Obama Administration Will Tell Poor Residents
The federal government wants poor residents of states not expanding Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care reform law to know who's denying them health coverage -- and the administration has a plan to make sure they find out. When Americans begin shopping for benefits on the law's health insurance exchanges on Oct. 1, the people who would qualify for Medicaid but live in the 20-plus states where Republican governors or state legislators won't approve the expansion will see a note explaining that federal law allows them to get coverage that their states' leaders won't provide them. A senior administration official told reporters about the note Friday (Young, 7/15).

The Associated Press: Panel Prepares To Discuss Effects Of Expanding Medicaid
A special commission exploring whether expanding Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul law is right for New Hampshire spent its meeting Tuesday reviewing the existing program. The Department of Health and Human Services reviewed who currently qualifies for Medicaid in the state, the pending change from a fee-for-service payment model for the program to managed care, and what program changes require federal waivers (Love, 7/17).

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