KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Implementation Outreach Aims To Educate The Public On Health Care Changes

USA Today reports on "Enroll America" a private campaign aimed at "making it easy for Americans who qualify for Medicaid or private insurance subsidies to sign up" in the wake of health care reform changes. The effort has been prompted by difficulties and confusion that occurred four years ago after a Medicare prescription law encountered major glitches in implementation.

"With the ink barely dry on this year's comprehensive health care law, the Obama administration and consumer and industry groups are readying education campaigns designed to stop history from repeating itself." The campaign will try to push states to make enrollment systems that are easy to navigate for the public and to allow people to sign up when they "see a doctor or apply for other benefits, with simple applications printed in multiple languages." Implementation was appropriated $1 billion in the health overhaul, but the Congressional Budget Office projects implementation will cost $10 billion to $20 billion, some from future appropriations. Implementation challenges include creating the regulations for changes to the insurance market to protect consumers  and the creation of state-based health insurance exchanges. The tasks will the main duty of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a liberal health consumer group, will head the campaign, and even America's Health Insurance Plans, the main insurer trade group, will lend a hand with the effort (Wolf, 4/1).

MarketWatch: Implementation of the provision that would enable young adults to remain on their parents health insurance plans will face a gap of several months, when that provision kicks in with their parents' employer's new plan year, typically Jan. 1, 2010. "The measure comes at a time when one-third of Americans age 19 to 29 are uninsured. Extending dependent coverage may not be all that effective in reducing those ranks, since only about 11% of uninsured young adults live in families with parents who have group employer coverage, according to The Urban Institute. Experts say a far greater number will obtain insurance through federal mandates and subsidies that are scheduled to kick in over the next few years" (Brill, 3/31). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.