KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Having Luck With, But Others Remain Stuck

Quiet fixes to are helping some shoppers on the troubled website, but some still remain without insurance coverage. In the meantime, insurers are skeptical the latest marketplace enrollment numbers are cause for health law optimism.

USA Today: Help For Some -- But Not All -- Stymied Insurance Shoppers
Many consumers who have waited months to resolve insurance application issues on are finally getting help, but some are still stuck in limbo without Medicaid or insurance coverage, and many of the site's most vexing problems remain, according to insurers, brokers and state Medicaid officials. Applications that take days, clueless customer service representatives and error-ridden or orphan files persist. Changes made to the website last week will solve many of these problems, but the fixes were made so quietly that few brokers and consumers were aware of them, says Jessica Waltman, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Health Underwriters, which represents insurance agents and brokers (O'Donnell, 2/13).

CBS News: On Obamacare Enrollment, Insurers Don't Share Government's Optimism
According to HHS, enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace shot up by 53 percent in January over the previous three months and 27 percent of last month's enrollees were the highly desirable young adults ages 18-34, who are vital to making the system financially viable. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a press release stating that signups among young adults, nicknamed "young invincibles" in insurance industry jargon, was up 3 percentage points from October through December and outpaced all other age groups combined. "Nearly 3.3 million people enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace plans by Feb. 1, 2014…with January alone accounting for 1.1 million plan selections in state and federal marketplaces," read a press statement issued Wednesday by Sebelius. But the rosy portrait shatters under an alternate interpretation by insurance industry representative Robert Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates (Attkisson, 2/13).

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