KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Laws Could Upend Elements Of The Health Law Enrollment Effort

Twelve states have passed measures that could undermine funding for "navigators." Also, news outlets report on the latest on health exchanges from California, Wisconsin and Florida.  

Bloomberg: State Laws Hinder Obamacare Effort To Enroll Uninsured
President Barack Obama has set aside $67 million to make it easier to enroll in his health-care overhaul. Laws pushed by Republicans in 12 states may keep that from happening. Under the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. government plans to pay a network of local groups known as navigators to explain the law’s new coverage options to the uninsured and guide them through its online insurance markets (Nussbaum and Wayne, 8/23).

The Wall Street Journal: California Health Exchange Might Face Online-Enrollment Delay
California's new health-insurance exchange, the biggest of the state marketplaces emerging under the federal health overhaul law, has started telling insurers that there's a possibility it won't be ready to sign up consumers for coverage online when it launches on Oct. 1. spokesman for Covered California, the state agency creating the exchange, said the technology for its enrollment process is still being tested, and "we are fully planning on being fully functional on Oct. 1" (Mathews, 8/22).

The Associated Press: Analysis: At Least 3 Options In Area Health Exchange
There will be multiple options across Wisconsin for purchasing insurance through the new marketplaces, or exchanges, required under the federal health care overhaul, an analysis released Thursday concluded. Citizen Action of Wisconsin determined that every part of the state is covered by at least two insurance companies, at least three companies will be selling plans in nearly 99 percent of the state, and more than 68 percent of the state will be covered by at least four companies (8/23).

Health News Florida: Why Are 'Navigators' Needed For Obamacare
When the new online health insurance marketplace opens Oct. 1, millions of people will be able to buy insurance at the click of a mouse. The federal government has a website and a hotline people can call for help. But they'll also have people who can help face-to-face. They're called "navigators” (Watts, 8/22).

Also in the headlines, a look at why some employers are open to the idea of private insurance exchanges -

Modern Healthcare: Reform Update: Employers Take Closer Look At Private Insurance Exchanges
With public small-business insurance exchanges opening Oct. 1, two studies released this week show employer interest in private insurance exchanges is growing. ... the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29% of employers with 5,000 or more employees are considering private exchanges as an option for buying healthcare coverage for their employees. A day later, consulting firm Towers Watson released its Health Care Changes Ahead survey, which found that 37% of employers think private exchanges are a reasonable alternative to traditional employer coverage in 2014 (Block, 8/22).

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