KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Insurance Exchanges Continue To Struggle Even After New Year Deadline

The Washington Post Fact Checker takes a closer look at the health law enrollment target the Obama administration is now backing away from. In the meantime, many states continue to confront insurance exchange challenges even after the crush of customers looking to get coverage to start in January.

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: The White House's Claim That 7 Million Enrolled In Obamacare 'Was Never Our Target Number'
The White House this week crowed about the fact that, as of the end of the year, 2.1 million Americans have signed up for insurance either through the federal health care exchange or state-run exchanges. The message was that the Affordable Care Act Web site, which had a troubled launch, was turning a corner. At the same time, the administration has backed away from the idea that it suggested that it had a "target" of 7 million enrollees when the enrollment period for 2014 ends in March. As [White House aide Phil] Schiliro put it, "that was never our target number." Let's explore this figure and the administration's enrollment claims (Kessler, 1/3). 

The Associated Press: Health Care Glitch Affects 18K W. Virginia Residents
A state official says a glitch in the federal health insurance marketplace has affected about 18,000 West Virginians trying to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Jeremiah Samples of the state Department of Health and Human Resources tells the Charleston Gazette the federal exchange is having problems transferring account information to and from West Virginia's system. He says some other states are having the same problem (1/2).

The Oregonian: Cover Oregon Director Rocky King Resigns Citing Medical Reasons
Rocky King, Cover Oregon's executive director, gave notice of his resignation on Jan. 1, clearing the way for a permanent replacement. King announced his medical leave on Dec. 2, after which Oregon Health Authority Director Bruce Goldberg took over the post on an interim basis. King at the time cited an undisclosed medical condition that had already cost him significant time off work in the previous two years (Budnick, 1/2). 

The CT Mirror: Obamacare Coverage Starts, But Some CT Customers Are Still Waiting
More than 34,000 state residents were slated to begin new private insurance plans Wednesday as part of the federal health law. But as the new year began, many people who bought policies through the state's health insurance exchange still hadn't received their first premium bills, which must be paid by Jan. 10 to get coverage this month. John Calkins, a Watertown insurance agent, is among those getting calls from clients who are "panicking a little bit" (Becker, 1/2).

Minnesota Public Radio: Even After January Coverage Deadline, MNsure Struggles
MNsure's serious problems continue even after Tuesday night's deadline for Minnesotans to sign up for coverage that would take effect Wednesday, Jan. 1. In theory, the end of the deadline rush might have resulted in a let-up in traffic on the site. But people hoping to access MNsure's website on Thursday were stymied for most of the business day (Catlin, 1/2).

The Star Tribune: Login Snag Prompts MNsure Website To Go Offline
Glitches and hitches continue to mar the MNsure website, even as the first of several enrollment deadlines for the state's new online insurance exchange has come and gone. The website went down Thursday about noon with a problem in the login area, MNsure spokesman John Schadl said. Consumers found a message that said: "Application and account services are currently unavailable. We are actively working on a resolution and ask that you visit us at a later time. We apologize for the inconvenience" (Crosby, 1/3).

California Healthline: Exchange Applications Hit Million Mark
Covered California signed up roughly 400,000 people for health insurance through Dec. 22, according to a preliminary estimate of enrollment numbers by Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California. The exchange topped the million mark for enrollment applications in the first three months of open enrollment with an official total of 1,064,872 applications through Dec. 28. The official release of complete December enrollment data is expected in mid-January (Gorn, 1/2).

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