KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Ca. Sign-Ups Continue To Soar — Latino Enrollment Viewed As Critical

Covered California has almost reached its enrollment goal for March 31, according to numbers released Wednesday. Still, the state plans to spend millions on Spanish-language advertising in the weeks remaining before the open enrollment period ends next month.   

The San Jose Mercury News: Obamacare: California's Health Insurance Enrollment Soars
With nearly six weeks to go before open enrollment ends under the new federal health care law, more than 1.7 million Californians have signed up for health coverage since Oct. 1, according to the state's insurance exchange. Through Feb. 14, the number who bought a private insurance plan on the Covered California exchange shot up to 828,638, almost reaching the 830,000 goal it hoped to hit by the March 31 open enrollment deadline. "This shows how strongly Californians are stepping up to take advantage of the Covered California opportunity,'' Peter Lee, the exchange's executive director, said at a news conference Wednesday (Seipel, 2/19).

The Associated Press: California Health Exchange Tops 800,000 Sign-Ups
More than 800,000 Californians have signed up for insurance through mid-February on the state's health care exchange. Covered California, as the exchange is known, released updated enrollment figures Wednesday showing that nearly 829,000 people had signed up for individual policies through the first two weeks of February (2/19).

The New York Times: California Health Insurance Enrollments Rise, But Hispanics Still Lag
With six weeks left in the open enrollment period for insurance under President Obama’s health care law, more than 828,000 Californians have signed up for private coverage through the state’s online health care exchange, state officials announced Wednesday (Lovett, 2/19).

Los Angeles Times: More Latinos Enrolling In Covered California Health Plans
More Latinos are signing up for Obamacare coverage in California after a slow start, and the state is spending millions of dollars more on Spanish-language ads ahead of next month's enrollment deadline. The Covered California insurance exchange said Wednesday that 828,638 people overall have enrolled in private health plans through mid-February, and an additional 1 million Californians have been deemed eligible for an expansion of Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program (Terhune and Karlamangla, 2/19).

CBS News: California Struggles To Get Latinos To Sign Up For Health Coverage
The state of California said Wednesday that more than 828,000 have signed up for coverage through the state's health insurance exchange, which was established under Obamacare. California is now on pace to beat enrollment projects. But few Latinos are signing up. CBS News set out to find out why (Tracy, 2/19).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: California Faces Steep Challenges As Obamacare Launches, Report Finds
As it prepares to offer coverage to its millions of uninsured residents through the Affordable Care Act, California faces daunting challenges and provides useful lessons for the rest of the nation, according to a survey and analysis released Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s report, based on a survey of 2,500 adult Californians before enrollment began in October, provides a preliminary look at the roadblocks that could hinder the implementation of the law (Hernandez, 2/20).

The San Francisco Chronicle: Low-Income U.S. Citizens Can Stay In Healthy S.F. - For Now
We told you Sunday about the strange predicament of low-income U.S. citizens who are part of San Francisco's universal health care program but are being bumped out of it if they qualify for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act - even if they can't afford those premiums, co-payments and deductibles. That predicament was made even stranger by the fact that immigrants living in the country illegally can remain in Healthy San Francisco because they don't qualify for the new health insurance exchanges set up under the federal law. That means they can keep their doctors and primary care clinics and keep paying the same low quarterly fees while their U.S. citizen counterparts can't (Knight, Lagos and Cote, 2/19).

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