Automated Obamacare Payment System Months From Completion
Meanwhile, California, Texas and Arizona exchanges do poorly at enrolling Latinos, while in Oregon, insurance agents and other consumer guides hope to get their first look today at an overhauled website. In Texas, a campaign targets neighborhoods with high rates of uninsured residents.
CBS News: Obamacare Payment System Will Take Months To Complete, White House Says
The federal government may not completely finish the automated payment system for Obamacare for “several months,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday. Until that system is fully running, the administration won’t be able to verify how many of the consumers who signed up for Obamacare insurance are, in fact, paying their premiums and are hence truly enrolled. “There's an automated payment system that will coming online fully in the next several months, which will include in the flow of information... timely data relating to the payment of premiums by enrollees,” Carney said (Condon, 2/14).
The Hill: Republicans Open Investigations Into ObamaCare’s Disaster Sites
Republicans are launching investigations into three state-run ObamaCare exchanges that are failing disastrously. Lawmakers are setting their sites on exchanges in Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts where Democratic governors embraced the healthcare law, and are demanding to know why their expensive online portals remain useless more than four months after launch (Easley, 2/17).
Los Angeles Times: California Health Exchange Faulted For Not Reaching Out More To Latinos
Some California politicians are turning up the heat on the state's health insurance exchange to boost Latino enrollment in Obamacare before a March deadline. U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) held a sign-up event Thursday in Orange County and prodded the Covered California exchange to do more to reach the area's large population of uninsured. Statewide, about 1.2 million, or 46%, of the 2.6 million Californians eligible for federal premium subsidies under the healthcare law are Latino. But Covered California said only 20% of enrollees through December described themselves as Latino on their application (Karlamangla and Terhune, 2/14).
Marketplace: Affordable Care Act Needs Traction With Minorities
More than 3 million people have enrolled in the Affordable Care Act, but there’s one population the initiative is struggling to reach: Latinos. In California fewer than 20 percent of Obamacare enrollees are Latino. Arizona and Texas have also had trouble getting Latinos to enroll. "It’s absolutely critical, because this is a numbers game," says Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health. Mendelson says Obamacare needs more people to sign up to keep costs down. For that to happen, he says, states need to offer informational materials specially targeted to Latinos (Smith, 2/17).
The Oregonian: Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Pushes Partial Launch To Feb. 18
Oregon's troubled health exchange has delayed its partial launch to Feb. 18, That's when insurance agents and other consumer-assistance workers will get their first look at a system that promises to allow same-day enrollment as originally planned for last October. Last week Cover Oregon officials alerted the exchange's certified agents and applications assisters that they could finally get full access to an upgraded password-protected beta website, known as the partner portal, by the end of the week. On Saturday morning, however, the exchange sent a bulletin saying it would be ready "over this weekend or early next week” (Budnick, 2/17).
The Oregonian: Cover Oregon: IT Contracting Oversight Bill Passes Oregon House
After more than half an hour of debate, the Oregon House approved a bill to require independent oversight on large information technology projects in an attempt to avoid a repeat of Cover Oregon's botched rollout. House Bill 4122 passed 40 to 18 and moves to the Senate. The bill would require oversight on all contracted technology projects that cost more than $5 million and certain projects that cost more than $1 million. "We need to ensure technology projects will be managed better in the future," said Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, one of the bill's sponsors. "This bill is an important step. It will make a difference” (Zheng, 2/17).
The Baltimore Sun: Consumers Remain Stuck In The Exchange
Three days after the Maryland health exchange launched its online marketplace for the uninsured and underinsured, Lynn Baklor enthusiastically logged on. Three months later, she gave up in frustration…The Baltimore corporate consultant's application was one of roughly 11,000 stuck in the exchange website since its Oct. 1 launch, and a top exchange official said they all came from "early adopters" like her — yet another problem plaguing Maryland's exchange (Cohn, 2/17).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Health-Care Help At College
It was just past 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and all the screens in Bonnell Hall's BG 25 computer lab at Community College of Philadelphia were alight with the blue-hued healthcare.gov home page. But the only people in the room for the scheduled Affordable Care Act workshop were Health Federation of Philadelphia certified application counselors Daniel Flynn and Gracie Chang, and navigator Hannah Sendolo (Calandra, 2/16).
The Associated Press: Texas Cities Find Loophole In Health Training Rule
The Houston Health Department likely won't have to pay for additional training for most of the "navigators" who are helping city residents enroll in the new federal health insurance marketplace. All it needs to do is tweak their title. Texas, along with more than a dozen other states, recently required navigators to undergo an additional 20 hours of training and meet a slew of additional requirements to go about their business helping people get health care under the Affordable Care Act. But Texas has not imposed these requirements on so-called certified application counselors — people hired to perform almost the same duties as navigators but are paid for by local entities (2/18).
The Texas Tribune: Advocates Release Maps Of ACA Enrollment
To help uninsured Texans find coverage through the Affordable Care Act, the Get Covered America campaign is targeting Texas neighborhoods with a high rate of residents without health insurance. On Friday, the group released detailed maps showing the types of enrollment assistance available in Texas metropolitan areas (Aaronson, 2/14).
Over the weekend, meanwhile, a Valentine's Day enrollment push to sign people up for insurance ran into technical difficulties --
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Some Healthcare.gov Signups Face Weekend Delay
Supporters of the health law have made a Valentine’s Day-themed push to get people signed up on HealthCare.gov for coverage taking effect at the start of next month. But the drive could hit a hard stop on Saturday afternoon, when the website won’t be able to process applications for three days (Radnofsky, 2/15).
ABC News: Love In The Time Of Obamacare
While potential admirers are trying to woo you with chocolate and flowers, Obama is bent on winning you over with baby animals. Hoping to attract new Affordable Care Act registrants, the President’s Twitter team shared a graphic created by @AdorableCareAct, a group apparently dedicated to promoting the ACA with baby animals. Flanked by a photo of four fluffy kittens, the text reads, “Treat yourself right this Valentine’s Day. Get pamPURRED with health care” (Dooley, 2/14).