Maryland Advances Bill To Cover Frustrated Applicants
The Maryland Senate has sent the House of Delegates a measure to provide immediate health insurance to people who sought unsuccessfully to enroll in the state's troubled health exchange. Meanwhile, Texas' top insurance regulator released new rules for navigators and Minnesota's exchange woes are covered.
The Associated Press: Md. Senate Oks Bill On Health Exchange Problems
The Maryland Senate voted Tuesday for an emergency measure to provide health insurance for people who tried to enroll online in the state’s health exchange but couldn’t because of computer problems. The bill, which still needs House approval, would enable people to enroll in an already existing state insurance pool called the Maryland Health Insurance Program. The program is a separate safety net plan that has served as a high-risk pool for state residents without insurance. Because the bill is an emergency measure, it would take effect as soon as it is signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, whose administration proposed the bill (Witte, 1/21).
The Washington Post: Rep. Delaney Voices Frustration Over Maryland Health Exchange
Six weeks ago, Rep. John K. Delaney began to push this idea: What if Maryland just abandoned its troubled online health insurance marketplace and used the federal version instead? Or maybe used some combination of the two? Delaney (D-Md.) waited for state officials to fully evaluate the option. Then, on Jan. 6, he sent a letter to the state’s secretary of health and asked for a brief analysis of the "pros and cons" of switching. He didn't receive a formal response. On Tuesday, Delaney sent another letter (Johnson, 1/21).
Politico Pro: Obamacare's Second Act
Here comes Obamacare's second act. A more confident White House and pro-Obamacare states are calling on celebrities, rock stars and athletes to make the case for health insurance before the March 31 end of open enrollment. With the website now working and stories trickling out about people getting covered, the backdrop is different than the faulty technology and insurance cancellations that dominated the first half of the enrollment season (Millman, 1/22).
The Dallas Morning News: State Finalizes Rules To Require More Training For Obamacare Navigators
Texas' top insurance regulator on Tuesday softened some provisions of a new state rule on health insurance "navigators" but insisted they receive additional training and undergo background checks and fingerprinting. Insurance Commissioner Julia Rathgeber dropped a so-called gag rule that some Democratic state senators warned could prevent navigators from helping consumers sort out the pros and cons of policies offered in the federal government's health insurance marketplace. Rathgeber's original plan would have barred navigators from comparing the features of different policies, which "essentially strips the purpose of having health navigators in the first place," Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, said earlier this month (Garrett, 1/21).
The Texas Tribune: Texas Finalizes Rules For Health Care Navigators
The Texas Department of Insurance on Tuesday issued state regulations for health care "navigators," the workers who assist people seeking health insurance in the federal marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (Aaronson, 1/21).
MinnPost: Do MNsure's Problems Reflect Bigger Government Workforce Problems?
If misery loves company, frustrated Minnesotans who have grappled with the troubled MNsure online health care exchange can take some solace. We are not alone. Oregon, Hawaii, Vermont and Maryland among others have all reported experiencing serious technical issues with their respective rollouts (Haveman, 1/21).