KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Government Has Yet To Resolve Subsidy Inconsistencies

The inspector general report details that the government isn't quite sure how to fix the problem. In the meantime, a new health startup looks to cash in on helping companies enroll low-wage earners in Medicaid instead of company plans.

The Fiscal Times: Government Struggling To Fix Obamacare Errors
Obamacare’s technological nightmare might not be over yet. Due to problems with the backend of the website, the Department of Health and Human Services reported last month that nearly 3 million of the applications for health insurance had inconsistencies with who was receiving federal subsidies. At the time, officials assured the public they were aggressively working to solve the problem. But now, a new inspector general report reveals that nearly nine out of 10 erroneous applications have yet to be resolved, and the government isn’t really sure how to fix the problem (Ehley, 7/2).

Crain's New York Business:  Health Startup Cashes In On Obamacare Loophole 
Another New York startup is looking to make money filling a hole in the Affordable Care Act, and once again investors are intrigued. Manhattan-based BeneStream announced Tuesday that it has raised $1.58 million from angel investors looking to capitalize on the expected surge in business when Obamacare's employer mandate takes effect on Jan. 1. The mandate, which requires businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance or pay a monthly penalty, is the driving force behind BeneStream's business plan: it wants to help companies enroll eligible low-wage workers in Medicaid (McEnery, 7/2).

And closer looks at figures detailing just how many have signed up for health coverage under the health law --

The Washington Post: Sebelius’s Claim That Obamacare Has Brought 'Affordable Coverage' To 22 Million People
This number -- 22 million -- is an interesting figure from the recently departed HHS secretary, given that she had once famously defined "success" for the Affordable Care Act as having signed up 7 million people by the end of March. How did the number suddenly balloon to 22 million? Brad Kemp, an aide to Sebelius, provided the following breakdown: "8 million in market; 3 million young adults; 5 million in ACA-compliant off-market plans, and 6 million (and counting) additional Medicaid folks." That adds up to 22 million, but he did not respond to follow-up e-mails or provide any sources for the numbers. So let's dissect these figures ourselves (Kessler, 7/2).

Marketplace: Five Million Stick To Private Health Insurance
We all know people have signed up for insurance through the healthcare exchanges, or enrolled in Medicaid. But a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine shows about five million people bought coverage straight from an insurance company. There’s nothing new about people buying insurance policies directly from insurers; it’s been happening forever. But Harvard’s Ben Sommers says not for everybody (Gorenstein, 7/3).

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