KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Deadline Delayed For Finalizing Details With Insurance Plans On Federal Exchanges

Reuters reports these agreements are not likely to be signed until mid-September. Also in the news, the race is on to train navigators while, in Washington state, Group Health will omit abortion coverage in exchange plans. And Republicans on Capitol Hill offer a new plan for insuring government officials.  

Reuters: Deadline For Finalizing Obamacare Health Plans
The Obama administration has delayed a step crucial to the launch of the new healthcare law, the signing of final agreements with insurance plans to be sold on federal health insurance exchanges starting October 1. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified insurance companies on Tuesday that it would not sign final agreements with the plans between September 5 and 9, as originally anticipated, but would wait until mid-September instead, according to insurance industry sources. ... Nevertheless, Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for HHS, said the department remains "on track to open" the marketplaces on time on October 1. The reason for the hold-up was unclear. Sources attributed it to technology problems involving the display of insurance products within the federal information technology system (Morgan and Humer, 8/28).

Kansas Health Institute: Weeks Before Obamacare Marketplace Launch, Race Is On To Train Navigators
With open enrollment scheduled to start in about five weeks, the race is on to train workers to help residents around the region obtain health insurance through marketplaces established under the federal health reform law commonly referred to as Obamacare (Sherry, 8/27).

The Seattle Times: Group Health To Omit Abortion Coverage On Plans Sold On State Exchange
Group Health Cooperative will not cover abortion in its individual health-insurance plans being offered through the marketplace put in place by the Affordable Care Act, but says women who buy them will be able to access the service without paying more. Group Health said it made the decision not to include the coverage because of murky regulations about how it would have to account for federal money in plans that offered abortion (Ostrom, 8/27).

Politico: Mike Enzi, David Vitter Aim To Put More Government Officials In Exchanges
Two Republican senators plan to take aim at a recent agreement on Hill health coverage, saying they will introduce legislation requiring the president, vice president, political appointees, members of Congress and their staffs to buy insurance on the exchanges — including those currently exempted under the law. Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and David Vitter (R-La.) said their legislation would also ban everyone in that group from receiving any federal contributions to their health plans — except for congressional staffers (Cunningham, 8/27).

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