KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Outreach Efforts, Especially For Young Adults And Minorities, Take Center Stage

The Detroit Free Press looks at the challenges in getting the message about the new insurance programs out to the uninsured, while in Florida, some officials are defying the governor's decision to curb federal outreach efforts.

Detroit Free Press: Outreach For New Health Law May Be Particularly Tough For Minority Populations
Their clipboards and their pitch ready, the volunteers just wanted to hand out information. … It might seem, then, that Michigan’s 1.4 million uninsured and underinsured people would anxiously await the Oct. 1 launch of the marketplace. Not so. On this sunny Saturday in this east Detroit neighborhood, few doors opened, even though blinds moved. A few people who came to the door spoke from behind screen doors only (Erb, 9/24).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: 3 States, 3 Different Obamacare Outreach Plans
How many ads will it take to get the uninsured signed up for the new coverage options launching Oct. 1? States do not know yet. But those running their own marketplaces are rolling out some creative new outreach techniques to get there as quickly as possible (Gold, 9/24).

Miami Herald: Broward Looks To Defy Gov. Scott On Obamacare
Heavily Democratic Broward County is expected to join Pinellas County in resisting Republican Gov. Rick Scott's decision to bar Obamacare enrollment advisors from state health department facilities. Broward Mayor Kristin Jacobs will offer a resolution at Tuesday's county commission meeting that would allow Affordable Care Act "navigators" and counselors at Florida Department of Health facilities in Broward County. The commission, which is dominated by Democrats, is expected to approve the proposal (Hladky, 9/23).

The Associated Press: Ohio Prepares For Federal Health Insurance Market Under Affordable Care Act
Ohio has yet to certify any navigators -- the professionals who will help people get enrolled [on the new insurance marketplaces]. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor told reporters Tuesday that her insurance department is processing one entity's application. Three other organizations also have been awarded federal money to be navigators. Ohio created additional regulations for navigators, including required background checks, training and certification. Taylor, a Republican, has been one of the state's most vocal critics of the law (9/24).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Ads Target Young Invincibles For 'CYA' Insurance
Colorado plans to unveil its second round of ads when Connect for Health formally launches next week. This time, Colorado will follow California's lead. The new ads show people around the state with bubbles over their heads, showing that "here," "here" and "here," they can get health insurance. … Tom Leydon of Pilgrim Advertising said the new strategy is to get people to buy. In the first round of advertising, Leydon said the goal was to "raise awareness for something that very few people knew about." "Now our goal is to get people to sign up," he said (Kerwin McCrimmon, 9/24).

In other news about state marketplaces -

ABC News: 9 More Things To Know About Health Insurance Exchanges
On Tuesday we brought you the 10 things you need to know about health insurance exchanges. Some of you asked how the exchanges will affect retirees, while others wondered about religious exemptions. To help clear things up before open enrollment starts Oct. 1, here's the second installment of our health insurance explainer (Moisse, 9/25).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Want Tax Credits? You Won't Get Them Online
Pitched to the public as a Travelocity-style online marketplace for health insurance, Colorado's new health exchange won't allow customers to get online tax credits for at least the first month. Colorado exchange managers revealed Monday during a board meeting that customers who want tax credits to make health insurance more affordable will have to call for help, rather than navigating the multi-million dollar computer system on their own. … That's because the online system for determining eligibility for tax credits is not accurate enough to trust yet (Kerwin McCrimmon, 9/24).

Minnesota Public Radio: MNsure Would Delay Oct. 1 Launch If Security Risks Resurface
Minnesota's online health insurance marketplace would not go live as scheduled next week if any privacy or security risks remain unaddressed, MNsure officials said today. The agency officials offered that assurance during a legislative oversight committee hearing on MNsure's information security. State lawmakers quickly called the hearing a MNsure employee accidentally released Social Security numbers and other personal data of at least 1500 insurance brokers (Stawicki, 9/24).

The Sacramento Bee: California Insurance Chief Warns About Fraudulent Sellers Of Health Care Policies
With sales of the first Affordable Care Act policies just a week away, state officials are warning consumers of rip-off artists using scare tactics and phony websites. "Unfortunately, as with any new program, there are those who will use the new system to take advantage of or rip off consumers," said state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in a statement Tuesday. Consumers should purchase the new health care policies only through licensed insurance agents or the Covered California website, he said, "not impostors who seek to prey on those who want to sign up for insurance coverage" (Buck, 9/24).

The Star Tribune: Insurance Exchange May Solve Minnesota Pediatric Dental Woes
Help could be on the way in the form of MNsure, the state online insurance exchange that launches next month. Because federal policy requires the exchange to include pediatric dental benefits, state officials expect that thousands more Minnesotans will buy coverage and seek long overdue care for their children's teeth. But they also caution that this expansion of benefits won't solve all of the state's dental woes: Many of the neediest children already qualify for state-subsidized dental benefits and don't use them (Olson, 9/24).

In addition -

The Texas Tribune: Perry, Obamacare And The Uninsured
As the U.S. Census Bureau released new statistics showing Texas again ranks highest for the percentage of people without health insurance, Gov. Rick Perry quietly laid out the next moves in his ongoing effort to derail Obamacare (Aaronson, 9/24).

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