KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Despite Gains, Covered California Lags With Latinos

California's health exchange has enrolled more than 625,000 people in private insurance plans, but the state's struggle to reach uninsured Latinos is drawing criticism.

Los Angeles Times: Covered California Faulted For Low Latino Enrollment
California keeps signing up people for Obamacare policies at a rapid clip, but the state's struggle to reach uninsured Latinos is drawing more criticism. The Covered California exchange said Tuesday that more than 625,000 people have enrolled statewide in health plans through Jan. 15 as part of the Affordable Care Act. Even though enrollment opened in October, more than 500,000 of those enrollees signed up in just the last six weeks (Terhune, 1/21).

The Sacramento Bee: Early Stumbles Hamper California’s Latino Health Care Enrollment
California has struggled to enroll Latinos in health insurance coverage through its new exchange, spurring waves of criticism from supporters of the law and potentially jeopardizing the program’s long-term success. Of the 400,000 customers who responded to a question about their ethnicity, fewer than 20 percent identified as Latino, Hispanic or Spanish over three months of enrollment. Just 5.5 percent of customers, roughly 25,000 people, speak primarily Spanish, according to figures provided by the state exchange Tuesday (Cadelago, 1/22).

CQ HealthBeat: Latino Engagement Needed To Boost California Exchange
More than 625,000 people have enrolled so far for insurance through California's health exchange, a figure that state officials intend to boost in the months ahead partly by reaching out more to Latinos. ... Lee on Tuesday released the enrollment figures as of Jan. 15, and discussed during a press briefing the strategy for attracting more people to participate in the exchange. The Fresno Bee on Monday had chided Covered California for what it called stumbles in the effort to reach out to Latinos, who are key to the success of the exchange (Young, 1/21).

The Associated Press: California Health Exchange Enrollment Tops 600K
Officials with California's health insurance exchange Tuesday said about 625,000 people have signed up for an individual or family policy under the federal health care reforms, but enrollments for Latinos and younger people continue to lag expectations. Younger people are crucial for the private insurance market. Insurers need them to balance out the number of older customers, who are more likely to use health services (Verdin, 1/21).

The San Francisco Chronicle: Spike In Covered California Signups Pushes Total To 625,000
More than 400,000 people rushed to sign up for Covered California last month to meet the Jan. 1 deadline for coverage, a surge that pushed the total number of residents enrolled in private health insurance in the state health exchange to more than 625,000, exchange officials said Tuesday. The December total was more than quadruple the combined number of signups for both October and November, the first two months that people could buy health insurance under the federal health law. Another 125,000 Californians signed up in the first two weeks of January, said Peter Lee, Covered California's executive director (Colliver, 1/21).

The San Jose Mercury News: Obamacare Enrollees In California Hit The Million Mark
Halfway through the federal health care law's enrollment period that started Oct. 1, more than a million Californians have signed up for some form of health insurance, according to figures released Tuesday by the state's new insurance marketplace. Covered California's executive director, Peter Lee, said that by mid-January, 625,564 people had enrolled in an insurance plan through the exchange ... In addition, about 584,000 Californians were determined to be eligible for coverage under the health care law's expansion of Medi-Cal, the state's health program for the poor (Seipel, 1/21).

The Hill: O-Care Enrollment Steady In Calif.
Enrollment under California's ObamaCare insurance exchange has continued steadily into January despite expectations that it would decline after the end of last year. The marketplace, known as Covered California, reported Tuesday that roughly 125,000 people signed up for private coverage between Dec. 31 and Jan. 15 (Viebeck, 1/21).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Solo Coverage for $430 a Month? It’s a Deal!
After 13 years of being an insurer’s worst nightmare, I just heard some wonderful words: The insurance company will see you now. They even gave me coverage. Darned good coverage, in fact, for $430 a month for my single, middle-aged and pre-existing-conditioned self (Dotinga, 1/22).

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