KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Report: 32 Million Americans Underinsured In 2012

Those consumers had insurance that didn’t meet their needs, the report finds. Meanwhile, the Associated Press examines the difficulties Latinos have getting insurance. Members of the nation’s largest minority group account for a third of those people nationwide without coverage. But they also face unique hurdles in signing up before the March 31 deadline.

NBC News: 32 Million Underinsured in U.S., Report Finds
A new report finds that 32 million people were underinsured in the U.S. in 2012, meaning their health insurance didn’t do enough to cover their costs. That makes for 80 million Americans who either have no health insurance at all, or who don’t have enough, the report finds. It will be important to watch and see if the provisions of the Affordable Care Act cut into this number, the non-profit Commonwealth Fund said in issuing the report (Fox, 3/25).

Marketplace: Being Uninsured Versus Underinsured
As Monday's deadline to sign up for health insurance or face a penalty approaches, there's plenty of attention on the uninsured. But how about the underinsured? Nearly 32 million people were underinsured in 2012, meaning they had insurance but that it wasn't robust enough to protect them from major medical costs, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. The figures are from before individuals could buy insurance on Affordable Care Act exchanges, but some say the problem persists (Wilson, 3/25).

CQ HealthBeat: Think 6 Million Was Tough? Next Year's Enrollment Target For Exchanges Is 13 Million
This week’s mad dash by health law supporters to enroll at least 6 million people in exchange plans before open enrollment ends on March 31 appears to be within reach — a major accomplishment considering the disastrous rollout of the online federal marketplace last fall. But the enrollment projection by the Congressional Budget Office widely adopted as a measuring stick for the early success of the health law will rise to 13 million in 2015 and to 22 million in 2016 (Reichard, 3/24).

The New York Times: Insurers Push To Enroll People As Health Care Deadline Looms
It’s last call for health insurance. A new insurance company in Colorado dispatched a throng of models dressed as cocktail waitresses onto the streets in recent days, offering nonalcoholic shots of juice to lunch-hour crowds in Denver. The models, in form-fitting dresses and high heels, handed out fliers reminding people of the fast-approaching March 31 deadline to sign up for health care coverage this year under the federal law (Abelson and Thomas, 3/24).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Latinos Being Left Behind In Health Care Overhaul
The nation’s largest minority group risks being left behind by President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Hispanics account for about one-third of the nation’s uninsured, but they seem to be staying on the sidelines as the White House races to meet a goal of 6 million sign-ups by March 31 (3/24).

The CT Mirror: CT’s Latinos Face Hurdles In Enrolling In Obamacare
No group of people in Connecticut is more likely to be uninsured than the state’s Latinos, and Obamacare won’t change that. The Hispanic community is facing unique hurdles signing up for the Affordable Care Act. Some of those barriers were anticipated by both the Obama administration and administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Others took supporters of the ACA by surprise (Radelat, 3/24).

Los Angeles Times: Health Insurance Basics Stump Many Obamacare Shoppers, Survey Finds
Amid the final frenzy for Obamacare enrollment, a new survey shows that many consumers may be ill-equipped to shop for health insurance. A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that 42% of people surveyed could not describe a deductible and 39% didn't understand the relationship between a premium and deductible (Karlamangla, 3/24).

The San Jose Mercury News: Eight Things You Need To Know Before Monday's Deadline To Enroll In Health Plans
The real definition of madness in March? Waiting until now to sign up for health insurance under the new health care law. With the March 31 deadline fast approaching for millions of Californians who still don't have insurance (that's midnight Monday, folks), you're facing some painful hurry-up-and-wait scenarios: brave the mad dash of procrastinators and finally enroll or prepare to pay a hefty penalty at tax time next year. Whatever you choose, expect to hear from experts and advocates sounding a lot like your mother over the next few days: "Don't play Russian roulette with your health," warned Larry Hicks, a spokesman for Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange. Enrolling sooner than later, he said, will help you avoid "long waits and lots of frustration" closer to March 31 (Seipel, 3/24).

The CT Mirror: Obamacare Q&A: Deadline Scramble, Repaying Subsidies And What The New Plans Cover
Next Monday is the final day to enroll in individual-market health insurance for 2014. After that, if you haven’t had coverage this year and haven't signed up, you could face a penalty under the federal health law commonly known as Obamacare. This Obamacare Q&A includes questions about what to do about that deadline if your coverage is slated to run out later this year, what the government can and can't do to you if you don't get insurance, what the new plans cover, and the possibility that some people might have to repay some or all of the federal funds used to discount their premiums (Becker, 3/25).

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