KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Consumers Are Not Insured Until They Pay 1st Premium

CNN cautions that it's not enough to sign up for a health law policy -- you need to make that first payment to your insurer. Elsewhere, ProPublica looks at's back-end system to provide your sign-up information to insurers, and the Obama administration awards $55 million in grants to bolster the health care workforce.

CNN: Obamacare: You're Not Insured Until You Pay
Just because you've picked an Obamacare insurance policy doesn't mean you've got coverage. If you want to be insured come Jan. 1, you have to pay your first month's premium by your insurer's due date, often Dec. 31. Sounds simple enough, but federal officials and insurers are concerned that many consumers don't realize they have to take this last step and will remain uninsured (Luhby, 12/5).

ProPublica:'s Mysterious New Number: '834' 
Now that the front-end of appears to be working properly, the media's focus is quickly shifting to the back-end systems that are supposed to provide insurance companies with accurate information about consumers enrolling in their plans. The issue is an important one because if insurance companies get incorrect data, their future customers may not be enrolled properly and that could lead to headaches -- or worse -- come January when patients show up at doctors' offices or hospitals thinking they are insured but really aren't (Ornstein, 12/5).

The Washington Post: Obama Administration Awards $55 Million To Boost Health Care Workforce
The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $55.5 million in grants to help bolster a health-care workforce that is stretched thin and possibly due for more strain under the Affordable Care Act. The health legislation, known as Obamacare, requires the uninsured to obtain medical coverage, potentially placing more stress on the nation's health care network (Hicks, 12/6).

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