KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Worries In Neb. About Exchange Deadlines; Federal Grant For Conn.

State officials are taking steps to involve the public and put systems in place by the Jan. 1, 2013 deadline.

Omaha World-Herald: Insurance Exchange Face Unknowns
Nebraska officials raised concerns Monday about the state's ability to meet upcoming federal health care reform deadlines. At a briefing for state lawmakers, the officials said they face challenges with the amount of work to be done and the lack of answers on key matters. Nebraska Insurance Commissioner Bruce Ramge said the federal law gives states until Jan. 1, 2013, to develop plans for a health insurance exchange. A state that decides against running its own exchange will have one created for it by the federal government (Stoddard, 8/16).

The Connecticut Mirror: State Gets $6.7 Million For Exchange Plans; First Meeting Aug. 29
The federal grant will fund three projects that address the administration of the exchange, information technology and consumer assistance and reporting requirements, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Levin Becker, 8/15).

Kansas Health Institute News: Insurance Exchange Meetings Canceled By Chamber
The remaining meetings scheduled for business leaders to learn about the proposed Kansas health insurance exchange have been canceled, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce announced today. The first meeting organized by the Chamber was Aug. 8 in Topeka. Three more were scheduled (8/15).

The Sacramento Bee: California Interests Line Up To Shape State's Health Exchange
At a suburban Sacramento auditorium normally reserved for tax matters, the new California Health Benefit Exchange board attracted a who's who of health care lobbyists when it convened in April. Among those represented: Insurers, doctors, drug companies, low-income patients, small businesses, HMOs and information technology firms. It was a clear indication of the billions of dollars at stake based on how the state builds its new public health insurance marketplace (Yamamura, 8/16).

Meanwhile -

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: If You Get Your Own Health Insurance, MA Open Enrollment Ends Today
The Connector is the agency that helps Massachusetts residents shop for and obtain our (mandatory) insurance, but this deadline is not just for people who buy their health insurance through the Connector. It's for anyone who gets health insurance on their own ... Seems oddly inflexible, but the Connector explains: "The open enrollment period was created by 2010 cost containment legislation, Chapter 288, after insurance carriers complained that too many people were signing up for coverage when they required expensive medical services, then dropping it" (Goldberg, 8/15).

Kansas Health Institute News: GOP Delegates Pass Strong Anti-Reform Resolution
The Kansas Republican Party on Saturday passed a resolution that called for an immediate halt to efforts underway to link the state's Medicaid program with a health insurance exchange required by the federal health reform law. ... The resolution followed Gov. Sam Brownback's announcement last week that he and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer had decided to return a $31.5 million "early innovator" grant meant to help Kansas officials create an insurance purchasing exchange (Ranney, 8/15). 

California Healthline: Inland Empire Health Information Exchange Near Launch
After two years of planning and negotiation, an information-sharing network linking health care providers throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties is almost ready to go live. Health officials say the Inland Empire Health Information Exchange will be one of the largest in the nation, covering a geographic region nearly the size of Maine with a population of 4.2 million (McSherry, 8/15). 

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