KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

One Week And Counting Until Dec. 23 — An Important Health Law Deadline

News outlets report that the Department of Health and Human Services says is ready and able to meet the needs of the many customers who visit the site in order to obtain insurance by Dec. 23 -- the deadline for Jan. 1 coverage. About 1.9 million people have made it deep into the online process so far but have not yet selected coverage.

USA Today: HHS Vows It Will Be Ready For Dec. 23 Insurance Deadline
The ability of the website to keep operating despite a high number of visitors has heightened health officials' belief that the site will be ready to help customers meet the Dec. 23 deadline to enroll in insurance in order to be covered by Jan. 1. By noon Monday, 165,000 people visited the site, where people can shop for and buy health insurance, while another 500,000 went to the site over the weekend, said Julie Bataille, communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Kennedy, 12/16).

ABC News: Obamacare Countdown: One Week To First Major Deadline
For tens of thousands of Americans, the race to complete Obamacare enrollments is on. Just under a week from today, by 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 23, anyone seeking health insurance coverage effective Jan. 1, must have completed an application, chosen a plan and transmitted that enrollment form to their selected issuer. The deadline looms large for the roughly 1.9 million people who have made it deep into the process -- completing an application and receiving an eligibility determination -- but not yet selected a particular plan, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Many of these consumers have been hamstrung by glitches and delays at every turn and are simply stuck in limbo (Dwyer, 12/17).

CNN: CMS Call: Latest Glitch Resolved, Obama Administration 
The Obama administration said on Monday it had resolved the latest technical glitch with the website, one that hit over the weekend and prevented people from enrolling properly in new policies under Obamacare. Everyone who has selected a plan from a private insurer through the Obamacare marketplace now should be in direct contact with an insurer to resolve billing and payment, according to the agency responsible for overseeing the website. “Everyone who selected a health plan as part of their online application and enrollment process on have now heard from – from the health insurance marketplace – about the next steps that they would need to take for coverage," said Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Aigner-Treworgy, 12/16).

CQ HealthBeat: Many Consumers Who Start Direct Enrollment Do Not Complete Process
Insurers are having difficulty enrolling people directly into their health plans, and some consumers are still having a hard time getting coverage through the federal website that handles enrollment in 36 states, industry and government officials said Monday (Adams, 12/16).

Meanwhile, Moody's takes a look at how the Obama administration's latest request to insurance companies might impact the marketplace --

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Latest Federal Rules, Requests Put New Pressure On Insurers, Says Moody's
Insurers responded softly if not sweetly to the Obama administration’s latest requests and rule changes for individuals trying to buy coverage in online marketplaces by Jan. 1. Moody's Investor Service, which is watching Obamacare from the outside, isn’t so tactful (Hancock, 12/16).

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