KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Calif. Marketplace Reports Half Of Callers Hang Up Before Getting Help

Officials also said that the online insurance exchange is attracting more Hispanic customers, a key constituency for the marketing effort. Also, in Minnesota, officials announce an effort to boost enrollment of young adults.

Los Angeles Times: Half Of Callers To Covered California Give Up As Deadline Looms
Nearly half of callers to California's health insurance exchange in February and March couldn't get through and abandoned their call, state figures show. … Also Thursday, the Covered California exchange reported progress on another front: low enrollment among the state's large Latino population. At its monthly board meeting, the exchange said 32% of health plan enrollees in the first two weeks of March described themselves as Latino. That was up from 18% during the first three months of enrollment that ended in December (Terhune, 3/20).

Pioneer Press: MNsure Begins Final Enrollment Push Before March 31 Deadline
It's crunch time at MNsure. If people don't get health insurance by March 31, they could face penalties under the federal Affordable Care Act (Snowbeck, 3/20).

The Associated Press: Minnesota Exchange Launches Push For Young Adults
Leaders of Minnesota's new health insurance exchange announced a final push Thursday to sign up so-called "young invincibles" by the March 31 deadline for open enrollment, targeting an underinsured group that's key to keeping premium costs down. MNsure chief Scott Leitz announced a series of outreach events for the coming week aimed at young adults (Karnowski, 3/20). 

Minnesota Public Radio: Insurance With Your Beer? MNsure Courts Young Uninsured On Their Turf
People under age 34 are considered key to the long-term financial health of online insurance exchanges like MNsure. But its leaders aren't waiting for young adults to come to them. They're going to universities, breweries and bars — and buying television ads (Stawicki, 3/20).

The Star Tribune: MNsure Enlists Oscar Nominee Abdi In Enrollment Push
MNsure is bringing a bit of Hollywood into its final act. As part of its push to get uninsured Minnesotans enrolled in a health plan by March 31, the state’s online health exchange has turned to Oscar-nominated actor Barkhad Abdi and his "Captain Phillips" co-star, Faysal Ahmed, to make public appearances and pitches over the airwaves (Crosby, 3/20).

And in other states -

Reuters: South Carolina Lawmakers Fail In Attempt To Undo Obamacare
South Carolina lawmakers failed to derail implementation of President Barack Obama's signature health care law in the state when a measure was defeated in the Republican-controlled Senate. Last year, the state House passed a bill that nullified the law by calling for criminal penalties for anyone who sought to enforce it. Late Wednesday night, however, Senators voted 33-9 to defeat an amendment regarding the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The amendment would have banned state agencies and employees from helping to carry out the health care law. It would have required healthcare navigators who help people sign up for health insurance to be licensed by the state (McLeod, 3/20).

The Boston Globe: Mass. In Feud On Health Site Grant
The Obama administration’s hopes that Massachusetts would serve as a model for New England states enrolling residents in health insurance has collapsed in a bitter regional feud over tens of millions of dollars, a victim of the botched rollout of the state’s online insurance portal. Connecticut health care officials are now mounting a campaign to collect a portion of a $45 million federal innovation grant that was awarded to Massachusetts to build a state-of-the-art consumer platform for President Obama’s insurance program. The original idea was that the technical underpinnings of Massachusetts’ computer system could be shared with other New England states (Jan, 3/21).

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