KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Asks Oregon For Details On Its Health Insurance Exchange

The Republican National Committee has filed a public records request with the Oregon health insurance exchange seeking information about the marketplace's troubled rollout and about compensation for its executives. It plans other requests in Hawaii, Minnesota and Maryland.

The Associated Press: National GOP Requests Oregon Health Exchange Records
The Republican National Committee said it has filed a public records request seeking information about Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange — a sign the GOP sees the Cover Oregon challenges as a chance to make gains. In a letter dated Tuesday, the RNC requested information about compensation and vacation time for two senior officials: Cover Oregon director Rocky King and former Oregon Health Authority Chief Information Officer Carolyn Lawson. King is on leave from the agency and does not plan to return. Lawson has stepped down (Cooper, 1/16).

The Oregonian: National GOP Seeks To Turn Up Heat On Cover Oregon With Request For Documents
The Republican National Committee, which is continuing to press health care as the issue of the 2014 elections, says it is filing a public records request for information regarding the compensation of the officials who ran the troubled Cover Oregon website. RNC spokesman Michael Short said the party is also filing similar requests in Hawaii, Minnesota and Maryland --  states that are also under Democratic control.  Short referred to Gov. John Kitzhaber, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Kurt Schrader, all Oregon Democrats who are up for re-election this year, and said the "national party is getting involved to hold these elected leaders responsible for this disaster" (Mapes, 1/16).

St. Louis Public Radio: Month One Of Health Coverage Under The Affordable Care Act
As of January 1st, the first Americans enrolled in health insurance via the Affordable Care Act began receiving coverage. According to Professor Sidney Watson of the Saint Louis University Health Law Policy Center, a little more than 33,000 Missourians have signed up for plans through the federal Marketplace so far, leaving another 467,000 Missourians eligible to enroll. Almost 26,000 Missourians have enrolled in Medicaid (Phillips, 1/16).

In other exchange news -

Health News Florida: Glitch Hits FL Blue Enrollees
Florida Blue may have bitten off more than it can chew with its new plans under the Affordable Care Act. The company's customer-service apparatus and computer system appear to be overwhelmed and unable to cope (Gentry, 1/16). State Health Insurance Marketplaces Boost Outreach Efforts
Health insurance exchanges in five states with strong enrollment growth are ramping up efforts to reach even more uninsured Americans before the end of the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period on March 31. The March 31 deadline is for people who want health coverage for 2014 (Pallarito, 1/16).

The Baltimore Sun: Hearings Into Exchange To Continue, Blunders 'Might Be About Incompetence'
Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller said the investigations into how the state bungled its $107 million health exchange would continue until lawmakers are satisfied. … Miller said that [Sen. Thomas "Mac" Middleton, chair of the Finance Committee] will be getting daily briefings on progress to repair the exchange, which as of last week had enrolled less than 25,000 of the 150,000 people state officials hoped to get into private insurance plans. (Cox, 1/16).

The CT Mirror: 80 Percent Of Connecticare Customers Paid; The Rest Get An Extension
The deadline for ConnectiCare Benefits customers to pay their January premiums was Wednesday, but the company said Thursday that it will continue to accept payments through Jan. 20. So far, the company has processed payments from more than 80 percent of people who signed up for ConnectiCare coverage through the state's health insurance exchange, according to Michelle Zettergren, the company's senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. ... About a third of the people buying private insurance through the state’s exchange have picked ConnectiCare plans (Becker, 1/16).

The CT Mirror: Is Connecticut's Obamacare Insurance Age Mix A Problem?
Twenty-one percent of the customers buying private coverage through Connecticut's health insurance exchange are in the coveted 18-to-34 age brackets, and one member of the exchange's board worries that it's not higher. "Is there something that we can do other than sit here and kind of feel badly about the [age] mix?" Paul Philpott, a member of the exchange's board of directors, asked during a meeting Thursday. Of those buying insurance through Access Health CT, the state's exchange, 59 percent are 45 and older, including 36 percent who are 55 and older. As of Wednesday, 43,840 people had signed up for private insurance through Access Health (Becker, 1/16).

The Boston Globe: Pressure Mounts To Fix Mass. Health Site
Health policy analysts are calling for greater urgency in fixing the state's broken insurance website, after a report released this week showed Massachusetts far behind in signing people up for new plans under the Affordable Care Act. But, they said, the state is primed to quickly improve its standing compared with other states if it can get the technology working (Conaboy, 1/17).

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