KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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GAO Finds Health Marketplaces Still Have Problems Validating Eligibility, Subsidies

The report says the problems have led to insurance subsidy payments to people who are also on Medicaid and leaves the operation vulnerable to fraud. In other health law news, an insurance co-operative in South Carolina is closing, The Associated Press looks at what's new as enrollment season grows near and California lays plans to draw more people into the market.

The New York Times: Investigation Finds Errors In Coverage And Payments Under Affordable Care Act
Federal investigators from the Government Accountability Office said Thursday that they had discovered many errors in eligibility decisions under the Affordable Care Act that had led the government to pay for duplicate coverage for some people and an excessive share of costs for others. The investigators said some people were receiving subsidies for private insurance at the same time they were enrolled in Medicaid. (Pear, 10/22)

NBC News: Obamacare Insurance Markets Still Vulnerable To Fraud, Experts Say
The Obamacare health insurance exchanges are still easily tricked by fraudulent applications, with fake Social Security numbers and bogus immigration details, more than a year after the weakness was first pointed out, officials say. A Government Accountability Office sting also found that many people were double-covered by private insurance and Medicaid after signing up on the exchanges, and that others were allowed to mistakenly go without coverage. (Fox, 10/22)

The Associated Press: Ninth Cooperative Formed Under Affordable Care Act Closing
A South Carolina health insurer has become the ninth insurance cooperative formed nationwide under the Affordable Care Act to fold. Consumers' Choice Health Insurance Co. said Thursday that it will not sell policies in 2016, a decision that will leave 67,000 individuals and business customers looking for new coverage. (Murphy and Smith, 10/22)

The Associated Press: Premiums Expected To Rise In Many Health Law Markets
Premiums are expected to rise in many parts of the country as a new sign-up season under President Barack Obama's health care law starts Nov. 1. But consumers have options if they're willing to shop, and an upgraded government website will help them compare. Online health insurance markets are entering their third year, offering people who don't have access to job-based coverage a taxpayer-subsidized private alternative. That's helped cut the share of Americans who are uninsured to about 9 percent, a historical low. Still, the many moving parts of the Affordable Care Act don't always click smoothly, and Americans remain divided about "Obamacare." (Alonso-Zaldivar, 10/22)

The Associated Press: California Eyes People Eligible For Health Care Subsidies
Heading into a third enrollment season with less fanfare and a more modest budget, California health exchange officials said Thursday they will strategically target about 750,000 uninsured people who qualify for health insurance subsidies but haven't signed up for coverage. The agency will spend $29 million on an advertising campaign aimed at lower-income and middle-class residents who don't know there's help available to pay for health insurance, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said. That compares to a $43 million advertising budget last year and $55 million the first year. (Lin, 10/22)

The Sacramento Bee: Covered California Gears Up For 3rd Year Of Health Care Signups
Gearing up for a third year of health care sign-ups, Covered California officials announced Thursday they are doubling efforts to reach an estimated 2 million residents who are uninsured, primarily Latinos and African Americans. Those efforts include staffing 500 storefront locations, employing thousands of enrollment counselors, launching a $29 million advertising campaign and a statewide bus tour, starting Nov. 1 in East Los Angeles, all designed to encourage more Californians to come under the health care umbrella. (Buck, 10/22)

And on the subject of the health law's Medicaid expansion -

Utah Public Radio: Herbert: More Flexibility Would Solve Medicaid Crisis
Gov. Gary Herbert used his monthly press conference on Thursday to express his frustration concerning Medicaid expansion. UtahAccess+, the end product of a summer’s worth of negotiations between the state’s legislative and executive leaders, failed to clear a Republican caucus meeting last week. (Hall, 10/22)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.