KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

California Beating All Other States In Health Law Exchange Enrollment

California is the bright spot in enrolling people in the health law's insurance exchanges -- beating even the federal in how many have signed up. Still, California's enrollment figures -- representing about a third of all signups around the nation -- mean less than 1 percent of uninsured Californians have signed up for plans.

The New York Times: California Health Exchange Beats All Others in Enrollment, Officials Say
In its first month of business, California's insurance exchange enrolled more people than any other state-run exchange and more than the federal exchange serving 36 states, which has been paralyzed by technological failures. About 2,000 people are enrolling in private health plans daily through California's exchange, officials there said, a rate that has picked up considerably over the last few weeks (Goodnough, 11/13).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: California Bright Spot In Obamacare, Makes Up One-Third Of All Marketplace Enrollees
Nearly 60,000 Californians have enrolled in insurance plans under the nation's health law since its launch on Oct. 1, officials from the state's marketplace announced Wednesday (Gorman, 11/14).

Los Angeles Times: State Is On Track With Its Health Sign-Ups 
In contrast to lackluster results so far in the troubled federal exchange, California said it remains on track to reach its enrollment goals by having signed up 131,000 people in private health insurance or Medicaid through the state's marketplace. California's first enrollment figures, released Wednesday, marked a rare bright spot for the Obama administration as it faces intense criticism over its error-prone enrollment website and millions of consumers getting insurance cancellation notices because their coverage doesn't meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act (Terhune and Brown, 11/13).

The Associated Press: Only 35,000 Enrolled In First Month Of California Health Care Exchange
California's new health insurance exchange tentatively enrolled 35,000 people during its first month of operation, a fraction of the eventual goal in the state with the nation's largest uninsured population, federal health officials said Wednesday. A report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided the first glimpse into the operations of Covered California, which faces a monumental task to reach millions of people without insurance and sway them to sign up under the federal Affordable Care Act (11/13).

The Hill : Calif. Beats 36 States Combined In Obamacare Enrollments
California registered more ObamaCare enrollments in October than the 36 states served by combined, according to figures released Wednesday. The striking contrast highlights the shakiness of the federally facilitated health care exchanges relative to their -- mostly -- stronger state-run counterparts (Vieback, 11/13).

The California Health Report: Covered CA Enrolls 31,000 In First Month 
California’s new online insurance marketplace signed up 31,000 customers in the first month it was open for business and another 18,000 in the first two weeks of November, officials said Wednesday. That’s less than 1 percent of the number of people without insurance in the state, but California, through Nov. 2, still accounted for more than a third of those who signed up for insurance nationwide under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature program to overhaul the health insurance industry. Peter Lee, executive director of, said 75 percent of those who enrolled in California in October did so despite not being eligible for tax credits offered by the federal government to help make coverage more affordable (Weintraub, 11/13).

News outlets in other states consider how many -- or how few -- in their states have signed up --

Georgia Health News: Sign-Up Figures Tell Disappointing Tale 
An additional 396,000 people were deemed eligible either for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program under the law, including 7,709 in Georgia. That comes despite the fact that Georgia is not expanding its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. About half the states have opted to expand the program for the poor. Cindy Zeldin of consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future said Wednesday that the enrollment figures “weren’t a surprise, given the technical problems with the website.’’ Major new programs often get off to a slow enrollment start, said Zeldin, an ACA supporter (Miller, 11/13).

The Chicago Sun-Times: 1,370 Illinoisans Enrolled In Obamacare In First Month 
In Illinois, 1,370 individuals have enrolled and selected a plan through Nov. 2, and 30,901 have completed the information on the application necessary to determine whether they qualify for tax credits, but have not yet purchased a specific plan. That amounted to 56,636 Illinoisans who could be covered by those completed applications. "We have consistently urged Illinois residents to take their time getting educated, rather than make an impulsive decision on something as important as health care for themselves and their families," Jennifer Koehler, the director of the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace said. "When is ready to handle more users, we expect to see more website traffic to Get Covered Illinois and significant growth in our enrollment numbers" (Thomas, 11/13).

Houston Chronicle: Only 3,000 Enrolled So Far For Obamacare In Texas
Fewer than 3,000 Texans selected a health insurance plan in the first month of enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, according to much-anticipated federal data released Wednesday (Hines, 11/14).

Miami Herald: Obamacare Count: 100,000 So Far, 3,500 In Florida
More than 106,000 eligible people -- including about 3,500 in Florida -- selected a health insurance plan in October using the federal- and state-based marketplaces that are key to the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health Human Services reported on Wednesday (McGrory, Borns & Chang, 11/14).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin's Obamacare Tally: 877
The Obama administration released figures Wednesday on participation so far in the health insurance marketplaces set up through the Affordable Care Act. In Wisconsin, 877 people had picked a health plan sold on the federal marketplace as of Nov. 2, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, 19,098 electronic and paper applications to cover 34,678 people had been completed, with 8,911 people determined to be eligible for subsidized coverage (Boulton, 11/13).

The CT Mirror: Feds: Fewer Than Half Of Obamacare Applicants Qualify For Subsidies 
According to the federal figures, Connecticut’s exchange, Access Health CT, received 12,337 applications from Oct. 1 through Nov. 2. Because some of the applications were for family coverage, the number of people represented by those applications is 18,815. About a third of Connecticut’s applicants -- 6,490 -- were deemed eligible for the state’s HUSKY program, which provides Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage. The other 12,325 were found to be eligible to buy a private insurance plan through the exchange. Fifty-five percent of those would qualify for subsidized premiums, while the rest would have to pay the full cost of coverage (Becker, 11/13).

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