KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Survey: Signing Up For Obamacare No Walk In The Park

California enrollees said they had trouble getting through to call centers, calculating their income and gathering the required documentation, among other difficulties, according to a survey by the California HealthCare Foundation. Meanwhile, media outlets note that Tuesday is the last chance to sign up in California, while April 22 is the deadline in Minnesota.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Survey: Health Insurance Enrollment In California More Complex Than Anticipated
Newly insured Californians felt relieved after signing up for health coverage but encountered numerous obstacles with technology and communication during the enrollment process, according to a report released Monday by the California HealthCare Foundation. Surveyed in interviews and focus groups, consumers said they had trouble getting through to the call center, choosing a health plan and calculating their income. They also had problems with the online chat program, and many were surprised by the amount of documentation required to enroll, according to the report (Gorman, 4/15).

Los Angeles Times: Last Chance For Obamacare Ends Tuesday For Most Californians
After many deadline extensions and grace periods, Tuesday will mark the end of the first open enrollment for Obamacare in California. California's health insurance exchange is encouraging thousands of people who have started an application to finish before midnight Tuesday (Terhune, 4/14).

The San Jose Mercury News: Obamacare: Tuesday Midnight Deadline Looms For Last-Minute Health Care Applicants
That ticking sound you're hearing isn't just the clock counting down to Tuesday's deadline to file your taxes. Californians who started but were unable to finish their applications for a health care plan by the original March 31 open enrollment deadline have until midnight Tuesday to complete the process. "People have had since October to enroll. These are the final hours," said Larry Hicks, a spokesman for Covered California, the state's health care exchange (Seipel, 4/14).

The Star Tribune: MNsure Sets April 22 Deadline To Complete Enrollment
MNsure officials have set an April 22 deadline for Minne­sotans who indicated that technical problems prevented them from buying health insurance by the end of March. The deadline applies only to those who filled out an online form alerting MNsure of their troubles, but hadn’t previously created an account on the new online health insurance exchange. At least 8,200 people are known to be affected by the decision, according to a MNsure spokeswoman, but the number is expected to grow (Crosby, 4/15).

Pioneer Press: MNsure Extension Deadline For Private Insurance Buyers April 22
MNsure has told about 8,200 people who couldn't get health insurance by the end of last month that some of them might now face a sign-up deadline of April 22. In late March, the state's health insurance exchange created an online form for people to signify that they were trying to obtain coverage before the federal health law's March 31 deadline, but couldn't do so for technical reasons (Snowbeck, 4/14).

The Denver Post:  Colorado’s Private Health Insurance Enrollment Stands At 124,000
Final figures for Colorado's open-enrollment in private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act stand at about 124,000, according to state officials.That number kept climbing after the March 31 deadline, when it topped 118,000, as those who started enrollment but were unable to complete it by month's end were allowed to finish (Draper, 4/14).

Kaiser Health News: Focus On Marketplace Enrollment Overlooks Millions Who Bought Private Insurance
Want to know how many people have signed up for private insurance under Obamacare? Like the health care law itself, the answer is complicated. ... Often overlooked is that enrollment in private health plans outside the marketplaces is also booming. The federal government hasn’t been counting the number of people who buy new plans directly from insurance carriers -- and that number could be substantial (Feidt, 4/15).

And on the Medicaid expansion front -

The Associated Press: Anti-Tax Group Praises Va. House Speaker
An anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform is applauding House Speaker William J. Howell for his opposition to Medicaid expansion, praise that comes a year after the group advocated for new leadership in the House of Delegates (4/14). 

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