Will Illinois Build State Exchange? Calif. Exchange Neutral On Prop 45
Time is running out for deadlocked Illinois lawmakers to build a state-based exchange. Meanwhile, California exchange officials stay neutral on a ballot initiative to allow the state insurance commissioner to regulate rates, and MNsure is back in the political fray.
Chicago Tribune: Clock Ticking For Illinois To Form State-Run Obamacare Exchange
Unless Illinois acts quickly, it will leave hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table that would go toward building its own health insurance marketplace, potentially upping the cost of coverage for nearly 170,000 Illinois residents. State lawmakers, unable to break a years-long standoff, have not passed a law authorizing a state-based exchange, the marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act that allow consumers to compare and buy health coverage, often with the help of federal tax credits. As a result, Illinois was one of 36 states that relied on the federal government to host its marketplace on HealthCare.gov, the website that survived a disastrous launch late last year to enroll about 217,000 Illinoisans, 77 percent of whom received federal help (Frost, 9/18).
Sacramento Bee: California Health Exchange Stays Neutral On Proposition 45
After months of intense discussions, California’s health insurance exchange on Thursday remained on the sidelines of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would allow the state’s elected insurance commissioner to regulate rates. Covered California Board Chairwoman Diana Dooley, secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency, acknowledged the many concerns of the exchange and its more than 1 million consumers should Proposition 45 be approved. Among the impacts are its potential to interfere with the exchange’s role negotiating with health insurers, possible delays caused by third-party rate-challengers, unforeseen effects on federal subsidies and the risk of plans pulling out of the program. But taking a formal position against the measure could undermine the agency’s efforts to largely remain above the political fray as it enters its second year of the federal health care overhaul, Dooley said at the board’s meeting in Sacramento (Cadelago, 9/18).
California Healthline: San Diego Gearing Up For Targeted Outreach In Second Open Enrollment
Despite enrollment glitches and consumer complaints over limited and hard-to-decipher health care provider networks, the first year of coverage under the Affordable Care Act has been positive in many ways for the San Diego health care community, according to experts and stakeholders. "We have seen a decline in the number of patients that are self-pay with no insurance," said Marc Reynolds, senior vice president for payer relations with Scripps Health System. That situation is likely to improve for providers in 2015. According to Reynolds, Scripps will be in more insurers' networks next year than in 2014, potentially expanding its access to more than 75% of Covered California participants (Zamosky, 9/18).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: MNsure Back At Center Of Political Debate As Johnson, Dayton Tussle Over Issue
The decision this week by MNsure’s top-selling insurance company to withdraw from the state exchange injected Minnesota’s health care exchange efforts back into the political debate as the November election nears. Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson sharply criticized Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday over his management of MNsure, using its struggles as a means of questioning the incumbent DFLer’s competence on the job. Dayton has repeatedly apologized for the troubled launch of MNsure, but has talked up its benefits while charging that Johnson “doesn’t know what he’s talking about” on the issue (Condon, 9/18).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: More Than 40 Percent Of Minnesotans Rate MNsure A Failure
More than 40 percent of Minnesotans say the state’s online health insurance exchange, MNsure, has been a failure in its first year, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota poll (McGrath, Hargarten and Hutt, 9/18).
Minnesota Public Radio: ‘Routine’ Updates Frustrate MNsure Clients
Is your baby married? It's a ridiculous question. But if you just had a baby and went to MNsure to update your family status, the health exchange website may ask you anyway. That kind of routine update is proving to be a big problem for MNSure and the Minnesotans using it to buy health coverage (Sepic, 9/18).