KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some States See Enrollment Success Even As Others, Federal Insurance Exchange Struggle

Even as the federal and some state-based insurance marketplaces falter, enrollment numbers in some state-based exchanges are exceeding expectations -- including nearly 49,000 in Washington state alone. But some places, like Oregon, are dealing with technical problems that are forcing officials there to hand-process applications.

The Seattle Times/Kaiser Health News: Why State Exchange Sites Worked While The Federal Site Faltered
When President Obama addressed massive problems with the federal health-insurance exchange website last week, he couldn't cite any actual enrollments in health plans offered through the site. At the same time, several states running their own exchanges have exceeded federal-enrollment targets, including California, Connecticut, Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island and Washington. As of Oct. 28, Washington’s online site -- the Washington Healthplanfinder -- had enrolled 48,995 people (Marshall, 10/32).

California Healthline: Opening Month Numbers Indicate Intense Interest In Calif. Exchange
Covered California yesterday released its total number of calls and Internet inquiries for the first four weeks of the opening enrollment period for the state's health benefit exchange. The numbers were impressive. Open enrollment began Oct. 1 at Covered California. According to figures released yesterday: The exchange had 2,154,572 "unique visits" on its website. … The three Covered California call centers logged 210,061 phone calls with an average duration of more than 15 minutes a call. 179,562 applications to join the exchange have been started (Gorn, 10/31).

The Oregonian: Cover Oregon: Health Insurance Exchange Ramps Up Manual Enrollment As Website Still Doesn't Work 
Technical problems won't prevent people who need it from getting health coverage by Jan 1, officials said, citing new hires by Cover Oregon to process applications by hand. The hand-processing began in mid-October. But officials for Oregon's new health exchange said Thursday they're hiring 60 temporary workers to join more than 20 exchange workers already processing paper applications. The exchange is training more employees and talking to other state agencies about additional help (Budnick, 10/31).

The California Health Report: Covered California Turns To Facebook To Reach The Masses
Health care advocates have targeted various groups with information in assorted languages and officials stationed at health clinics around the state. But to reach the masses, Covered California folks say one of their strongest tools has been social media -- especially Facebook. "It's a pretty planned and intentional effort," said Sarah Sol, spokeswoman with Covered California. With featured posts including "Ask the Expert," "People Like Me" and questions and answers, the site is filled daily with conversation between potential subscribers, Covered California officials and more (Bookwalter, 11/1).

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