KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Federal Exchange: Expectations Were Rosy, But Consumer Frustration Taking Root

The Washington Post reports that visits to dropped 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13. In an interview, President Barack Obama said the glitches consumers have experienced must be addressed.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Before Glitches Arose, Internal Admin. Projections Called For Robust Health Care Signups
The Obama administration's internal projections called for strong enrollment in the states in the first year of new health insurance markets, according to unpublished estimates obtained by The Associated Press. Whether those expectations will bear out is unclear. Technology glitches have frustrated many consumers trying to sign up for coverage online, and efforts to upgrade and repair are ongoing (10/15).

The Washington Post: Visits To Federal Health-Care Web Site Off 88%
The number of visitors to the federal government's website dropped 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13, according to a new analysis of America's online use, while less than half of 1 percent of the site's visitors successfully enrolled for health insurance the first week (Eilperin, 10/15).

CNN: Obama: Obamacare Website Glitches Are Unacceptable
Despite the consistent problems, the president touted the health care law, saying it enables those seeking coverage to purchase private insurance, compare the prices of different plans and receive a tax credit to make it affordable. "The product itself is actually really good but we have to make sure that the cash register works and that the lines aren't too long when people are checking in and checking out," Obama said. The president has insisted he will not negotiate over the law as part of discussions currently underway to reopen the government and increase the debt ceiling before the Thursday deadline. But in Tuesday's interview, the president also reiterated his willingness to improve parts of the law in the future as long as those who are now eligible for coverage are not turned away (Schwarz, 10/16).

Also in the news, more coverage of how online insurance brokers are on hold as federal officials work to sort out the difficulties involved with the insurance marketplace as well as the fits and starts related to co-ops and Medicaid -   

Politico: Web Brokers On Standby, Waiting To Sell Obamacare Plans
The Obama administration has enlisted a small army of online brokers to help sell new Obamacare health plans, but those sites have been sidelined in the health care law's first two weeks as the feds struggle to sort out their own glitch-filled website. The federal agency in charge of the exchanges signed agreements this summer with several e-brokers to sell health plans in the 36 states where the feds are running the new individual marketplaces. But the online brokers, eager to tap a new market of people who'll qualify for federal subsidies, learned shortly before the Oct. 1 launch that they wouldn't be able to offer exchange plans right away (Millman, 10/16).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Rocky Opening Leaves Health Law's New Co-Ops Jittery
Nothing is more important for a startup burning through cash than winning customers and revenue. So problems with the Affordable Care Act's online marketplaces, also known as exchanges, aren't just an inconvenience for the likes of Evergreen Health Co-op. They're a threat (Hancock, 10/15).

Modern Healthcare: Federal Exchange Won't Transfer Medicaid Applications Until November
Americans submitting their applications for Medicaid through the federal government's online insurance marketplace in 36 states may want to contact their state Medicaid agencies for faster results. The CMS said Tuesday the online marketplace,, will not begin transferring applications to state Medicaid programs until Nov. 1 (Johnson, 10/15).

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