KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Health Plans In Washington, Kansas Face Challenges

Officials in Washington state and Kansas are working to get residents out of or into their state-run insurance programs.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: About as many people are on the wait list for Washington's Basic Health plan, a state-run, low-cost health insurance program, as are currently enrolled. "As of Monday, 78,834 people were enrolled in Basic Health, the state's low-cost health care coverage program. An estimated 78,419 people were on the wait list." But, recent budget cuts mean the program is trying to thin out it rolls, not take on new customers. The economic recession has increased demand for the cash-strapped plan, local experts said (Ho, 11/16).

Kansas Health Institute: A state insurance program has struggled to enroll patients as the number of uninsured children in the state rose, even as it declined nationally. "Between 2005 and 2008, the number of uninsured children in the state increased about 20,000 to a total of about 70,000 according to a recent report released by Kansas Action for Children." State officials acknowledge that flaws in the enrollment system for HealthWave, a state-run insurer for low-to-modest-income children and families, may contribute to the surge (Ranney, 11/16).

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