KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Oregon Exchange Website Won’t Be Ready Oct. 1

Although Oregon's marketplace will launch on time, people will have to go through certified agents rather than being able to register themselves online. News outlets also report on coverage concerns from autism advocates and marketplace developments in Idaho, Florida, Washington, California and Texas. 

The Oregonian: Cover Oregon To Fully Launch Health Care Marketplace Later Than Expected
Though Oregon's health insurance marketplace will launch Oct. 1 as planned, there's one hitch. People will only be able to immediately purchase health insurance on it with certified insurance agents and "community partners." (Karlamangla, 8/8).

Kaiser Health News: Red State Idaho Embraces Obamacare Insurance Exchange -- Reluctantly
[Bill] McCarrel opposes Obamacare—even though he’s uninsured and can’t find affordable coverage as a result of his artificial hip and knees. But the former junior high principal is looking forward to shopping on the Obamacare online insurance exchange starting in October to see if he can get a plan he could afford. McCarrel, 55, is thankful the Idaho legislature – prodded by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and powerful employer groups -- decided to have the state operate the exchange rather than leave it to the federal government. Of the 16 states that are gearing up to operate their own online marketplaces -- a central feature of the effort to expand coverage to millions of people starting in January -- Idaho is the only one where Republicans are in total control of state government (Galewitz, 8/9).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Fuzzy Math Behind Florida’s Health Insurance Projections, Group Says
After the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation released a chart and related information last week projecting that individual monthly health insurance premiums would rise 30 to 40 percent next year thanks to Obamacare, some critics cried 'fuzzy math!' This week, the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, a left-leaning nonprofit research and education group, issued a brief criticizing the OIR’s methodology for calculating rate increases, and panning the agency’s conclusions as providing “no credible comparison of the impact of PPACA on rates whatsoever' " (Chang, 8/8).

Los Angeles Times: Covered California Backs Dental Plans For 2014, Eyes Future Changes
Amid criticism from the state insurance commissioner and some children's advocates, California's health insurance exchange is moving ahead with a controversial approach to children's dental coverage for next year while vowing to pursue changes for 2015. At issue has been whether pediatric dental care should be part of the basic health insurance package sold through the exchange or be sold separately. The exchange, called Covered California, will be offering it on a stand-alone basis to parents next year (Terhune, 8/8).

Dallas News: Dallas Officials Unite To Plan For New Health Coverage Marketplace
With an unveiling a little more than 50 days away, many of the key details about the new health insurance marketplace remain under wraps. Still, stakeholders met at Parkland Memorial Hospital on Thursday to discuss how Dallas County officials can work together to educate the uninsured about the health plans offered under Obamacare. The marketplace is scheduled to open on Oct. 1 (Hanlon, 8/8).

Stateline: On Autism Coverage, ACA Leaves States in Charge
Autism advocates celebrated what they thought was a major victory when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010: They expected the law to require all insurance companies to cover pricey, potentially lifelong treatments for those with the incurable condition. But instead of creating a national standard for autism coverage, the administration bowed to political pressure from states and insurers and left it to states to define, within certain parameters, the “essential benefits” that insurance companies must provide (Vestal, 8/9).

The Seattle Times: King County Health Officials Map Strategy To Reach Uninsured
Health officials in King County are rallying the troops and drafting maps to prepare for an all-out effort to get health-care coverage for uninsured residents. Countywide, approximately 16 percent of the population lacks health insurance (Stiffler, 8/9).

California Healthline: Health Bills Continue Through Committee
The Assembly Committee for Aging and Long-Term Care this week approved a bill to ensure that four types of health care facilities comply with federal law. The bill is designed to establish guidelines in lieu of state standards yet to be written. SB 534 by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) is an important bill to the Department of Public Health, which would have regulatory say over four types of facilities: licensed ambulatory surgery clinics, chronic dialysis clinics, rehabilitation clinics and intermediate care facilities. Currently, the department doesn't have state-level enforcement standards for those facilities, so state officials want to use federal certification standards until California can come up with its own (Gorn, 8/8).

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