KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Based On Latest Enrollment Numbers, Covered California Now ‘Running In Place’

Also regarding Covered California, the exchange may require its health plans to pay broker commissions to try to avoid discrimination against higher-cost consumers. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, MNSure data indicates exchange shoppers are getting older.

The San Jose Mercury News: Obamacare: Are Covered California's Numbers Plateauing?
With Covered California's announcement Wednesday that 1.57 million Californians selected health plans during its third open enrollment period, at least one health care expert believes that the nation's bellwether state in implementing the Affordable Care Act is now essentially running in place. Although the latest numbers don't say how many people have paid for their plan to complete their enrollment -- the only figure that really counts and which will be available in a few months -- some experts say that the net gain from last year's 1.3 million total could be minimal. (Seipel, 2/17)

Kaiser Health News: California Marketplace May Require Insurers To Pay Agent Commissions
California’s health exchange may require its health plans to pay sales commissions to insurance agents to keep insurers from shunning the sickest and costliest patients. Covered California is working on a proposal that would force the plans to pay commissions effective next year, said Executive Director Peter Lee. The proposed rules could apply to regular and special enrollment periods, and would leave the specific commission amount or percentage up to insurers, he said. The issue is expected to be discussed Thursday at Covered California’s monthly board meeting. (Terhune, 2/18)

The Associated Press: Data Shows MNsure Shoppers Are Getting Older
Consumers buying health insurance through MNsure are getting older, according to data released Wednesday from the latest round of open enrollment, a troubling sign that could mean increasing costs. The state's health insurance exchange celebrated meeting its goals for private coverage signups after enrollment closed at the end of January, finally hitting a critical goal after two years of setbacks. But the details behind those numbers show the share of residents 55 and older who bought insurance through MNsure have jumped by 7 percent since 2015, while the pool of younger enrollees shrank. (Potter, 2/17)

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