KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State, Federal Health Insurance Marketplace Issues Expose Struggles, Few Successes

The very public struggles of these exchanges make news in California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas, Connecticut and Minnesota. Some issues include a lack of workers to help people navigate the systems in California, prices in the new marketplaces and an absence of accurate doctor provider lists.

Los Angeles Times: Lack Of Enrollment Workers Hampers Insurance Exchange Sign-Ups
A month into enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of health care workers and insurance agents are still unable to sign up consumers for health coverage through California's new exchange. Despite promises of an army of workers blanketing the state to help, many aren't in place -- or they're hitting one state roadblock or another (Terhune and Brown, 10/30).

The Wall Street Journal: Doctors Fault Provider Lists Exchanges Get From Insurers
Many new health exchanges don't yet let shoppers see which doctors accept which insurance plans. Where exchanges do post the so-called provider lists, they often contain inaccurate or misleading information, some doctors say, including wrong specialties, addresses and language skills, and no indication whether providers are accepting new patients (Beck, 10/30). 

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Exchange Snafus Linked To Only 3,164 Purchases So Far
Just over 3,100 people purchased health insurance through Colorado's new health exchange from Oct. 1 through Oct. 26, according to new data released Monday. Purchases on Connect for Health Colorado will need to pick up steam dramatically in the coming months if the new marketplace for public and private insurance is going to meet a mid-level goal of enrolling at least 136,000 people in new health plans in Colorado in 2014. Board members expressed dismay Monday that computer glitches both at the federal level and in Colorado may be preventing customers from purchasing health insurance. Without purchases by a broad spectrum of people -- including young, healthy customers -- Obamacare may not work as planned (Kerwin McCrimmon, 10/30).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Amid Health-Care Woes, Would-Be Buyers Do What They Can
With the federal website still on the fritz after four weeks, people here seeking the affordable insurance promised by Obamacare are doing what they can on their own. Some are finding policies on insurers' websites, or estimating subsidies using independent calculators. Others are going as far as they can in the sign-up process at, hoping they can return to finish choosing coverage later (Sapatkin, 10/30).

The Baltimore Sun: Md. Health Exchange Working Better, But Glitches Remain
Maryland has resolved many of the problems with its new health insurance exchange and more people are signing up, officials said Tuesday, though they acknowledged that a number of glitches remain. On the same day that a top Obama administration official apologized for the troubled federal health care website, the head of Maryland's system said some state residents are still unable to complete their enrollments online (Walker, 10/29).

The Texas Tribune: Texas Hospitals Looking Beyond ACA Website Glitches
Even proponents of the Affordable Care Act admit the rollout of its signature website,, has been rocky. But the Texas Hospital Association said Monday that criticisms of the website are a distraction from more significant problems with health care in Texas: the high number of people without insurance and the state's decision not to expand Medicaid (Walters, 10/30).

The CT Mirror: CT Exchange Chief: Obamacare Focus Will Turn To Price 
While much attention has been focused nationally on technological problems hampering the rollout of the federal health reform law, the head of Connecticut's health insurance exchange said Wednesday that another issue is likely to become more prominent: Price. Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT, predicted the focus will shift to rates and coverage as people who buy their own insurance begin learning about their options for 2014 (Becker, 10/30).

Minnesota Public Radio: New Health Insurance Options Coming To The Rochester Area
Residents in Olmsted and Dodge counties will now have multiple health insurance options on MNsure, the state's online health insurance marketplace, state regulators said today. Rochester had been the only part of Minnesota offering only one insurance option on MNsure. Insurance companies have stayed out of the Rochester market largely because Mayo sets prices in the region, and they're higher than anywhere else in Minnesota. ... The addition of seven new health insurance plans will let consumers look for more affordable health care options, while staying with current health providers, Minnesota Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said (Baier, 10/30).  

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