KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Calif. Won’t Extend Canceled Insurance Policies Despite Presidential Plea

The five-member board overseeing California's online insurance marketplace unanimously turned down President Barack Obama's call to let insurers continue some health plans that don't meet the health law's requirements. Marketplace officials for Covered California also detailed who has signed up for coverage in the marketplace.

Los Angeles Times: California Won't Extend Health Plans
Spurning President Obama's call to let insurers extend canceled health policies, California won't allow 1 million policyholders to keep their health plan for another year. The board of the Covered California health exchange voted unanimously to break with the president and keep its requirement that insurers terminate most individual policies Dec. 31 because the policies don't meet all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (Terhune, 11/21).

The Wall Street Journal: Split Over Health Law Change
California officials rebuffed President Barack Obama Thursday and voted against letting insurers in the state reinstate canceled health policies, in a move that highlighted internal tensions among Democrats about the health law's direction. Mr. Obama proposed last week that insurers be allowed to restore the canceled policies, hoping to quiet a furor that broke out when it became clear that millions of Americans who bought individual coverage were losing it (Radnofsky, Lazo and Scism, 11/21).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Calif. To Canceled Policy Holders: Buy A New Plan
California did not take President Obama up on his offer to extend canceled health policies.  The five-member board that oversees California’s health insurance marketplace, known as Covered California, voted unanimously Thursday to stay the course and cancel policies that didn't meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The board's decision had been widely anticipated, but at the public hearing in Sacramento there was an audible sigh of relief by consumer advocates and insurance company representatives when the vote became clear (Varney, 11/21).

Also in the news, California offered more information about its enrollment numbers -

Kaiser Health News: Covered California: Older Jump In First, But Officials Buoyed By Number Of Young Enrollees
In a state considered crucial to the success of Obamacare, older people have enrolled in California’s new health insurance marketplace in large numbers as expected, but younger people also have showed up in force. About 56 percent of Californians who signed up for coverage in October are over 45 and nearly 23 percent of the enrollees are between 18 and 34 years old, according to data released Thursday at the Covered California board meeting in Sacramento. The older enrollees make up a higher percentage than in the state's total population, while the proportion of younger consumers more or less match their makeup state (Gorman and Varney, 11/22).

The Associated Press: Details On Health Care Enrollment, Cancellations
Covered California has released details about who has signed up for health insurance coverage so far on the state exchange, as well as details about the nearly 1.1 million people who are receiving notices saying their current policies are being discontinued (11/21).

The Hill: Obamacare Enrollments Spike In California
Nearly 80,000 people have picked out a private health plan in California under ObamaCare, according to data released by the state's exchange on Thursday. Covered California, which enrolled 31,000 in October, signed up almost 50,000 additional consumers in the first 19 days of November. Those numbers include those who have made it through the enrollment process and selected a plan but have not yet made a premium payment (Easley, 11/21).

The New York Times: California Encouraged By Health Plan Enrollment
Especially encouraging, officials said, was the enrollment of young people, who are considered essential to the success of the Obama administration’s health care law (Thomas and Pollack, 11/21).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: California's Health Exchange Gains Momentum
While the federal health-insurance exchange continues to be bogged down by problems, California’s state health exchange is gaining momentum, according to new figures released by the state Thursday. As of Nov. 19, nearly 80,000 Californians had selected a private health plan, as enrollments more than doubled since the beginning of the month. Enrollment rates rose to about 2,700 per day in the second week of November from 700 per day in the initial week after the Covered California exchange opened Oct. 1, the state said (Ante, 11/21).

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