KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Marketplaces Still Plagued By Technical Problems

The New York Times examines how states running their own insurance exchange websites are doing. Meanwhile, USA Today looks at how insurance choices vary across the country.

The New York Times: Some State Insurance Exchanges Continue To Battle Technical Problems
Six weeks into the rollout of President Obama's new health care law, some of the online insurance exchanges run by states are continuing to have serious technological problems, often mirroring the issues plaguing the much larger federal exchange (Goodnough and Abelson, 11/12).

USA Today: For Some Areas, Insurance Plan Choices Are Paltry
Some counties in the U.S. have almost 30 times more choices of health insurance plans than others do, a stark example of the lack of competition in many parts of the country as consumers try to shop for affordable coverage on the new federally run exchanges. USA Today analyzed data from, the federal health insurance exchange selling plans for 34 of the states that didn't set up their own exchanges. The analysis clearly shows the impact of insurers' hesitancy to move into states where they aren't already doing business (O’Donnell and Overberg, 11/12).

In news from the states --

Los Angeles Times: Washington State Is Making Health Exchange Work
More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October -- most in Medicaid -- and about 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant, officials credit the exchange's success in part to the Pacific Northwest's high-tech bent (La Ganga, 11/12).

Seattle Times: Healthplanfinder Tax-Credit Goof Was $100 On Average
If you enrolled in a health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder last month and were given a tax credit to help cover the cost, you might want to check your Healthplanfinder account. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the online exchange marketplace, has begun posting notices to the Healthplanfinder accounts of about 8,000 state residents affected by an error that caused a miscalculation of their tax credits (Landa, 11/12).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: N.Y. Says 197,000 Have Applied In Health Marketplace
New York's new online health exchange reports 197,011 New Yorkers have completed applications to get insured, while 48,162 have subsequently enrolled in plans, nearly half in the government-funded Medicaid program for low-income New Yorkers. The exchange, which opened Oct. 1 as the state's response to the federal Affordable Care Act, includes low-cost plans for individuals and small businesses with coverage starting Jan. 1 (11/12).

The CT Mirror: Connecticut Is Only State Enrolling More in Private Insurance Than Medicaid Under Obamacare
Connecticut is the only state in the country in which more people have applied for private coverage than Medicaid through the health insurance exchange, an exchange official said Tuesday. James Wadleigh, Access Health CT's chief information officer, said the state's exchange has taken more than 11,000 applications for individual and small-business coverage. About 6,000 are for private insurance customers, and about 4,700 will receive Medicaid (Levin Becker, 11/12).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Exchange Revamp Not Likely Till Mid-December
Health exchange board members on Monday pressed for immediate improvements to Colorado's mandatory Medicaid application, but state officials, who contend that Colorado is a "shining example" among the states, refused to promise that a full slate of short-term fixes will be completed before Dec. 15. That's the deadline for customers to buy health insurance if they want it to kick in on Jan. 1. And Colorado now could have as many as 1 million customers who need it. New data from the statewide Colorado Health Access Survey estimate Colorado has 741,000 uninsured people while the Colorado’s Division of Insurance recently reported that 250,000 Coloradans have received cancellation notices and presumably will want new coverage (Kerwin McCrimmon, 11/12).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.