KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Enrollment: Gearing Up To Get The Message Out

Health law outreach efforts are proceeding with fits and starts, as one company returns its "navigator" grant because of the high level of scrutiny, while others vow they will be ready to begin enrolling people in the health law's new coverage. 

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Company Returns $800K 'Navigator' Grant As Obstacles To Implement Affordable Care Act Mount
A company that has for decades helped people enroll in Medicaid says it won't be able to sign up people for insurance under the new Affordable Care Act because there is too much scrutiny over a so-called navigator program. According to an email obtained by The Associated Press, Cardon Outreach's chief legal officer Charles Kable told the federal government it was returning more than $800,000 in federal grant money. The funds were supposed to be used to hire people in four states help explain the intricacies of health insurance to millions of people who aren't covered (9/15).

The Columbus Dispatch: Obamacare 'Navigators' Will Be Ready, Groups Vow
A probe for documents by congressional Republicans and a new state law have held back nonprofit organizations as they race to hire people who soon will help Ohioans shop for mandated health coverage. Despite the lack of new hires less than three weeks before enrollment begins for Ohio’s new federally run health-insurance marketplace, several groups hope to have some existing staff members trained and certified to help consumers by Oct. 1. Enrollment runs through March 31 (Sutherly, 9/13).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Workers Gear Up To Prepare For Health Law
Thousands of organizations are seeking federal certification to allow their workers to help people apply for coverage, and that's creating a backlog in getting people certified, a federal official said Thursday at a meeting in Richmond (Smith, 9/14).

The Wall Street Journal: Kentucky Officials Promote Health Law Where Skepticism Runs Deep
As Kentucky prepares to implement the health law, public agencies and advocacy groups are devoting millions of dollars and scores of outreach workers to sign up a key group: uninsured people in the state's rural expanses. Of the roughly 640,000 Kentuckians who are uninsured, 45% live in nonmetropolitan counties, which are mainly rural, according to state data (Campo-Flores, 9/13).

Kaiser Health News: The Overlooked Obamacare Sales Force: Hospitals
As community groups, brokers and insurers prepare to recruit members for medical plans that go on sale in October under the health law, nobody has a bigger financial stake in their success than hospitals. And few may work harder to sign consumers up for the Obamacare insurance marketplaces than hospitals themselves (Hancock, 9/13).

Marketplace: Government Hired 'Navigators' To Help Consumers Enroll In Health Exchanges
In just about two weeks, millions of uninsured Americans will start shopping online to get coverage … in theory. In reality millions of people remain confused over what Obamacare does or if it's even still a law. To chart these murky health insurance waters, the federal government is spending millions dollars to hire navigators who can help consumers enroll. The front lines of the Affordable Care Act right now are cramped church pews, hospital conference rooms, featuring weak coffee and plenty of power point presentations (Gorenstein, 9/16).

The Sacramento Bee: California Businesses Work To Adapt To Health Care Law
Neil Crosby, director of sales for Warner Pacific Insurance Services, had surpassed 500 when he lost track of the number of presentations he has given on the new federal health care law. Addressing apprehensive audiences, Crosby tests their understanding of the challenges businesses face as they scramble to digest and meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. When he asks whether there is anything that requires them to provide health care for their workers, they reply, "Yes" (Cadelago, 9/16).

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