KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

‘Looming Questions’ Remain About Technology For Marketplaces

But HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner say the exchanges will be ready to operate on Oct. 1.

McClatchy: October Opening Of Insurance Marketplaces In Jeopardy
The opening of the health insurance marketplaces in October -- key to Obamacare -- is in jeopardy because of looming questions about information security. The problem stems from tight deadlines that must be met to ensure the security of data moving through an information system that supports the marketplaces, sometimes referred to as exchanges, according to a new government watchdog report. At a cost of $394 million, the federal data-services hub will route requests from the marketplaces to existing federal and state databases (Pugh, 8/9).

Modern Healthcare: Insurers Pressed To Send Patient Coverage Information To Providers
Health insurers face a new requirement to rapidly communicate electronically with health care providers whether a patient has insurance coverage, plus what his or her co-payment split will be for a given visit or procedure, and how much that patient will have to pay under his or her deductibles and out-of-pocket limits. Now the CMS, an anonymous health care provider and a health IT consultant have teamed up to help narrow the gap between those federal requirements for electronic handling of queries about a patient's health insurance coverage and the rules' implementation in actual practice (Conn, 8/8).

Dallas Morning News: Visiting Texas, Top Federal Health Official Pledges Computer Problems Won't Delay Obamacare
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday that computer problems will not impede the rollout of new state health insurance marketplaces on Oct. 1. During a two-city swing, Sebelius encouraged Texans to visit the federal website to compare plans, apply for sliding scale (Garrett, 8/8).

Kansas Health Institute: Top Federal Official Says Insurance Marketplaces Will Open On Schedule Oct. 1
The Obama administration official charged with getting new online insurance marketplaces up and running in all 50 states said today that the federal government will be ready to flip the on switch in the states where it will operate them. ... Marilyn Tavenner, who heads the Center for Medicaid and Medicaid Services in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said critical information technology systems necessary to match consumers to coverage plans and identify those eligible for federal subsidies have been tested and are ready to go (McLean, 8/8).

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