KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Insurers Complain Of Slow Payments; Enrollees Wait

News outlets report on consumers struggling to prove they have enrolled in coverage and on insurers wondering when and if they will get paid.

The New York Times: Enrollees At Health Exchanges Face Struggle To Prove Coverage
Paul D. Donahue and his wife, Angela, are among more than a million Americans who have signed up for health coverage through the federal insurance exchange. Mr. Donahue has a card in his wallet from his insurer to prove it. But when he tried to use it to get a flu shot and fill prescriptions this week, local pharmacies could not confirm his coverage, so he left without his medications. Similar problems are occurring daily in doctors’ offices and drugstores around the country as consumers try to use insurance coverage that took effect on Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act (Pear and Goodnough, 1/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Insurers Cite Slow Premium Payments For New Plans
Insurers are struggling to get their premium payments from people who signed up for coverage through the health-law marketplaces, leaving many plans with fewer enrollees than expected at the start of the new year. ... "It's been pulling teeth," said Shaun Greene, chief operating officer of Utah-based Arches Health Plan, a startup. As of Thursday, Arches had collected about 60% of premiums for people who signed up for coverage that took effect Jan. 1. He said Arches would urge customers in email and phone calls to pay for at least a few more days, even after the deadline (Mathews and Weaver, 1/10).

The CT Mirror: Exchange CEO: Anthem Acknowledges Billing, Payment Problems
The head of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange said Friday that officials at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have acknowledged “administrative challenges” in setting up coverage for people who signed up for plans that were supposed to begin Jan. 1. As of last Friday, only 8 percent of customers slated to have coverage effective Jan. 1 had been recorded in Anthem’s system as having paid their premiums, said Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT, the state’s health exchange. That figure includes people who bought plans through the exchange and those who purchased them outside the exchange (Becker, 1/10).

Meanwhile, for Spanish speakers, the shopping experience is fraught with difficulties -

The Associated Press/Miami Herald: Health Care Website Frustrates Spanish Speakers
Mirroring problems with the federal health care website, people around the nation attempting to navigate the Spanish version have discovered their own set of difficulties. The site,, launched more than two months late. A Web page with Spanish instructions linked users to an English form. And the translations were so clunky and full of grammatical mistakes that critics say they must have been computer-generated — the name of the site itself can literally be read "for the caution of health" (Kennedy and Contreras, 1/12).

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