KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Exchanges: Choice Of Plans Will Vary Sharply From State To State

The New York Times reports that millions of people shopping in the new online marketplaces will discover their choices -- or lack thereof -- will depend on where they live. The Washington Post reports that many states are racing to have the online marketplaces ready to enroll people by Oct. 1. Also in the news, exchange developments from Wisconsin, California and Minnesota.

The New York Times: Choice Of Health Plans To Vary Sharply From State To State
When a typical 40-year-old uninsured woman in Maine goes to the new state exchange to buy health insurance this fall, she may have just two companies to choose from: the one that already sells most individual policies in the state, and a complete unknown — a nonprofit start-up. Her counterpart in California, however, will have a much wider variety of choices: 13 insurers are likely to offer plans, including the state's largest and best-known carriers (Abelson, 6/16).

The Washington Post: States Running Out Of Time On Health Insurance Exchanges
With the deadline for states to implement Affordable Care Act-mandated health insurance exchanges less than four months away, state governments will need to move fast. States are having to reevaluate their existing health insurance infrastructures to meet the act's requirements. They have already received nearly $4 billion in funding for the effort thus far — and can access more dollars through 2014 (White, 6/16).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Rollout Seen Slowed By Confusion Over Benefits
Judith Mayer Lynn, uninsured and battling breast cancer, should be a fan of the Affordable Care Act. Instead, she barely knows about it. The 56-year-old Nevada woman was unaware of subsidies in the law that will help people like her buy coverage in 2014, she said in an interview (Nussbaum and Wayne, 6/17).

MPR News: Advocates For Poor Say MNsure's 2-Tier Enrollment System Is Unfair
The state's new online health insurance marketplace, MNsure, is banking on community groups and other grass-roots organizations to help people sign up for health plans. MNsure will pay consumer assistants to help Minnesotans apply for and enroll in coverage. But MNsure has a two-tier payment system that advocates for low-income people call unfair (Stawicki, 6/17).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: More In State Must Shop For Health Care Coverage
Gov. Scott Walker rejected federal money to expand the state's Medicaid program because he would like more people to get coverage through commercial health plans instead of government programs. But the decision also means that tens of thousands more people will need to shop for a commercial health plan on the new marketplace known as an exchange. That, in turn, will put additional demands on people at hospitals, community health centers and community groups who are expected to do much of the work in helping people sign up for coverage (Boulton, 6/15).

In related news -

The Wall Street Journal: Aetna To Leave California Individual Insurance Market
The pullout is likely to draw attention as California has become a focus of national debate over the law's impact. Supporters, including President Barack Obama, who highlighted the state in a recent speech, argue that it has shown the success of the health overhaul in encouraging competition and pushing down prices (Mathews, 6/14).

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