KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obamacare ‘Navigators’ Hope For Do-Over

The groups charged with helping people sign up for health coverage are looking for a fresh start after experiencing the same difficulties getting plan information as many consumers. Other stories look at the challenges of enrolling Spanish-speaking consumers, as well as those living in rural areas.

The Washington Post: Launch Of Healthcare.gov Has Been A Rough Passage For Program 'Navigators'
[Patrice] McCarron's group is one of about 100 organizations across the country that received government grants to help people sign up for coverage. These groups of "navigators" have been stymied by the same technical problems that have thwarted individual consumers, and many say they have become worn down and discouraged. Now they are hoping that this weekend will mark a turnaround for the program, which they once promoted with enthusiasm and more recently have had trouble defending (Somashekhar, 11/30).

Kaiser Health News: Covered California Faulted For Failing To Reach More Spanish Speakers
Latino lawmakers and health leaders in California are sounding alarms about the insurance marketplace's preparation and tactics for enrolling Spanish speakers and are urging changes following the recent announcement that fewer than 1,000 signed up in the health law's first month (Gorman, 12/1).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Breaking Up With Healthcare.gov
Enrolling in healthcare.gov is not easy. In Alaska, just 53 people enrolled in the first month. Anchorage hair stylist Lara Imler is one of the few who got through. Now though, after she discovered problems with her application, Imler wants to cancel her enrollment (Feidt, 12/1).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: The Iowa Insurance Challenge: Rural Outreach
With more than 200,000 Iowans lacking health insurance, there are lots of questions but not many people equipped to answer them. Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says the state got about $600,000 in federal funding for pay for navigators, who help people understand their options and sign up for coverage. "That's not a lot of money to build a statewide campaign," he notes. "You have to hire staff, train staff, hold events. I mean that's expensive" (McCammon, 11/27).

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