KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Insurers Continue To Eye State Health Exchanges

In a pair of stories, the Associated Press reports on how insurers in New Hampshire and Kentucky that did not participate in the health law's online insurance marketplaces during the first enrollment period are now indicating their interest for the next open season. In addition, news outlets in Oregon and Minnesota report on developments related to state exchanges.   

The Associated Press:  New Hampshire Outlines Proposed Insurance Networks
Each New Hampshire hospital will be included in at least three of the provider networks available under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law next year, state insurance officials said Tuesday. This year, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield was the only company selling plans through the new marketplace, and it was criticized for excluding 10 of the state's 26 acute-care hospitals. Next year, two other private insurance companies -- Harvard Pilgrim and Assurant -- and two cooperatives -- Maine Community Health and Minuteman -- are expected to begin offering plans (Ramer, 6/17).

The Associated Press: 2 New Insurers Interested In Joining Kynect
At least two new insurance companies say they want to sell policies on Kentucky's state-run health exchange after more than 421,000 people signed up for health insurance during the first round of open enrollment. Residents can go to the website, known as kynect, to sign up for the state's Medicaid program or purchase discounted private health insurance plans, depending on their income. It is part of the federal Affordable Care Act, the health care legislation championed by President Barack Obama that has been fiercely opposed by others, including conservative Republicans, since the day it was passed (Beam, 6/17).

Reuters:  Oregon Takes Steps Toward Lawsuit Over Defunct Health Exchange Website
Oregon is taking the next step toward a possible lawsuit against the company that developed the embattled Cover Oregon website as part of the implementation of the federal health care program known as Obamacare, state officials said on Tuesday. The state issued what are known as civil investigative demands (CIDs) for information on Monday in the potential case against Oracle Corps, which the state paid about $134 million to create technology for the site (Sebens, 6/17).

The Oregonian: New Cover Oregon Health Exchange Chief, Aaron Patnode, Likes A Challenge
Aaron N. Patnode is in the final stages of negotiating a contract to become the new executive director of Cover Oregon. And one of the questions he's getting practiced at answering is: Why? Patnode knows the health insurance exchange is battling poor morale and appears on the brink of being enveloped in massive litigation in addition to being under investigation by Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He knows it has become a symbol for many of government waste, and could well be abolished as the federal government takes over Cover Oregon's main responsibility of enrolling Oregonians in health coverage (Budnick, 6/17).

The Star Tribune: Another Logjam: MNsure Slow To Process Insurance Coverage Changes
Thousands of Minnesotans whose insurance needs have changed because of a lost job or other life event are waiting weeks and sometimes more than a month to get coverage through the MNsure exchange. Since open enrollment ended in March, about 6,000 Minnesotans have contacted MNsure because of events such as a new baby or change in marital status. But systems are still not in place to quickly handle their insurance needs (Crosby, 6/18).

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