KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

White House Identifies Key Groups For Health Exchange Enrollment

Also, the Obama administration OKs Utah's dual health exchange while news outlets report on developments from South Carolina, Colorado and Connecticut.

CQ HealthBeat: White House Focuses Effort To Draw Healthy People Into Exchanges
The Obama administration has identified specific groups of people it would like to focus on as it promotes enrollment in the state health insurance exchanges next year. The administration plans a localized approach to reach 2.7 million healthy people who are 18 to 35 years old and without health insurance, according to information provided by senior administration officials (Ethridge, 5/10).

Politico: White House Gives Nod To Utah's Dual Exchange
Utah will be the only state in the country next year to run its own Small Business Health Options Program exchange — under a modified set of Obamacare rules — and let the federal government set up the exchange for the individual market. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert announced Friday that Utah had received a crucial nod from the White House that will allow the state to bend Obamacare’s exchange rules to accommodate the state’s small-business exchange (Cheney, 5/13).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Feds Approve Utah To Become First State To Use Dual-Model Health Insurance Marketplace
The federal government has approved Utah to become the first state to have a dual-model health insurance exchange in which the state and the federal government divide responsibilities. The plan allows Utah to continue to run its existing health insurance marketplace for small businesses, a system that lets employees pick health care plans in an online exchange. The federal government will run the state’s individual exchange. The two marketplaces will operate independently of each other (5/10).

CQ HealthBeat: HHS Accepts Utah Proposal For Hybrid Exchange
The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday gave its blessing to yet another form of a health insurance exchange, this one a Utah creation that lets the state operate the small business market while the federal government oversees the sale of policies to individuals. In other developments regarding the health care law, Kentucky’s Republican governor announced that the state will expand its Medicaid program and GOP state legislators in Michigan moved that state a little closer to Medicaid expansion as well (Norman, 5/10).

Bloomberg: Haley Leaves Health Law To U.S. As Residents Remain Uninsured
South Carolina is upgrading its Medicaid system, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor, to interface with the new online marketplace. But officials are relying on the U.S. government to promote and run it, said Tony Keck, Haley’s director of the Health and Human Services Department (Niquette, 5/12).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Exchange Board Approves Bid For $125 Million
Colorado’s health exchange board approved a new federal grant request of $125 million on Friday that will include about $13 million to provide in-person assistance to the uninsured. Some board members tried but failed to boost the grant request even higher -- to between $133 and $135 million -- to ensure that Colorado will have enough money to reach out to people who may never have had health insurance and could need extensive help signing up for federal subsidies starting this fall. Now dubbed Connect for Health Colorado, the new exchange is slated to start signing up customers on Oct. 1 (Kerwin McCrimmon, 5/10).

CT Mirror: First Clue To Obamacare Insurance Cost Arrives
The much-anticipated first rate proposal for a health plan to be offered on the state’s new insurance marketplace is in. But that doesn’t mean it’s clear yet what a customer will have to pay to buy insurance once the major provisions of federal health reform kick in. For one thing, the proposal comes from HealthyCT, a new, nonprofit insurer that doesn’t yet do any business in the state. Its rates were created based on projections by the actuarial firm Milliman. Although the federal health reform law limits variations in how much people can be charged, there will still be differences in price based on a person’s age, location and the specific plan the person selects (Becker, 5/10).

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