Budget Issues Begin To Cloud Outlook For State Exchanges
The Associated Press reports that questions are emerging about how these online marketplaces will operate under the current financing model. Also, the latest news on exchanges from California, Oregon and Florida.
The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Budget Model Uncertain For State Health Exchanges
The 14 states running their own health insurance marketplaces had all their startup costs footed by the federal government, but they're supposed to pay for themselves starting next year under the federal health care reform law. In several states, it's not clear whether it will work out that way. Projected enrollments are lower than expected, meaning the insurance surcharges designed to sustain the exchanges might not generate enough revenue in the years ahead without significant changes in the financing model (2/8).
The Associated Press: California Health Exchange Pulls Doctor Directory Again
California's health insurance exchange pulled its online doctor directory again after some physicians were wrongly listed as accepting patients' coverage plans, spurring a blame game between insurers and providers. The move Thursday was the second time Covered California took down its list of medical providers after acknowledging problems, the Los Angeles Times reported in Saturday's editions (2/9).
The California Health Report: Sacramentans Flock To Sign Up For The Affordable Care Act, But Latinos Are Slow To Enroll
Twenty-seven-thousand people in the Sacramento area selected health-insurance plans through Covered California in the first three months of the marketplace’s opening, according to numbers released last week. This total, says the Department of Health Care Services, equals about 95 percent of the region’s people that officials have guessed will enroll during the application period from October 2013 through March. Although Latino participation remains disproportionately low, the state’s new health exchange is leading the nation in applications for health insurance under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, enrollment rates skyrocketed in December, and the program’s launch has rebounded into what analysts are calling a success (Bland, 2/9).
The Oregonian: Cover Oregon: Former IT Chief Lawson Steered California Contracts To Her Future Oregon Deputy
Carolyn Lawson, the former Oregon Health Authority official at the center of the storm of Oregon's non-functional health insurance exchange, was investigated by the state of California for inappropriate contracting in 2008, The Oregonian has learned. Upon being hired by the California Public Utility Commission in 2008, Lawson funneled five contracts worth nearly $500,000 in a four-month period to the small consulting company run by her former boss in the private sector. The former boss was Steven Powell, who Lawson later hired as her senior deputy in Oregon (Manning, 2/7).
The Oregonian: Monica Wehby: Sen. Jeff Merkley Should Demand Federal Probe Of Cover Oregon
Oregon Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby on Friday said that Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley should demand a federal Justice Department investigation of the problems surrounding the troubled Cover Oregon website. Wehby, a Portland pediatric neurosurgeon who is one of five GOP candidates seeking the nomination to run against Merkley, wrote the senator urging action after questions were raised about why the state's health exchange passed federal readiness reviews. No one has been able to enroll through the website for coverage since it was supposed to be open for business on Oct. 1 (Mapes, 2/7).
Reuters: Florida Set To Launch Its Own Limited Insurance Marketplace
Florida's own health insurance marketplace, long touted by Republican lawmakers as a free-market solution to providing affordable health coverage, is expected to launch as early as next week. Six years in the making, Florida Health Choices will open for business with an inventory of products that cannot legally be marketed using the words insurance, coverage, benefits or premiums, according to Chief Executive Officer Rose Naff (Liston, 2/7).