KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Despite Glitch-Ridden Rollout, Health Insurers Not Panicking Yet

Media outlets document the pace of enrollment through health insurance marketplaces in Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Minnesota and Washington state.

The St. Louis Dispatch/Kaiser Health News: New Health Policies Will Expose Many To Higher Premiums, More Risk
Thanks to government subsidies, many St. Louis-area residents will be able to afford health insurance for the first time, beginning in 2014. But the insurance they’ll be able to buy will offer a limited range of options (Doyle and Kulash, 10/22).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Obamacare Rollout 'Frustrating,' But Insurers Not Panicking Yet
Insurers in Wisconsin are being either patient or silent about the problems that have rendered the new federal health insurance marketplace largely inoperable. "It's not the point in time where we need to hit the panic button," said Marty Anderson, director of marketing for consumer products at Security Health Plan in Marshfield. Three weeks after its launch in Wisconsin and other states, the federal marketplace for all practical purposes isn't working, and some experts estimate the problems could take weeks or even months to fix. "It's very frustrating," said Tanya Hudson, a benefits coordinator at Milwaukee Health Services, a community health center (Boulton, 10/21).

The Associated Press: National Health Insurance Site Sputters In Wyoming
Only a handful of Wyoming residents have managed to enroll so far for health care coverage through the troubled federal insurance exchange network that kicked off three weeks ago. WINHealth and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming are the only two insurance companies offering Wyoming coverage through the new federal health care exchange (Neary, 10/21).

St. Louis Beacon: Scholars Pinpoint Gaps In Consumer Knowledge Of Health Insurance Jargon
Thinking of buying insurance through the exchange? While you wait for programmers to fix the glitch-ridden sign-up system, grab a crib sheet and learn the terms that can help you make good decisions about coverage. Pay close attention to words like PPO, POS, deductible, co-payment, drug formulary, and many more (Joiner, 10/21).

The Seattle Times: Washington Healthplanfinder: More Than 35,000 Have Enrolled In 3 Weeks
Three weeks after its launch, Washington’s online insurance marketplace continues to set a strong pace for enrollment. To date, more than 35,500 Washington residents have enrolled in coverage through the state’s online insurance marketplace, Healthplanfinder, according to data released Monday by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. That figure is up about 10,500 from the week before (Landa, 10/21).

Kansas Health Institute: Fixes To Kansas Insurance Marketplace Produce Trickle Of Activity
The technical problems that have plagued the federal online health insurance marketplace since its launch three weeks ago are slowly being resolved, at least in Kansas, according to those who are helping people navigate the new system or are using it to sell health plans (McLean, 10/21).

Minnesota Public Radio: MNsure Unaffected By Federal Exchange Problems
The problems that have plagued the federal insurance marketplace in the last two weeks have not affected the system in Minnesota, MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov said Monday. President Barack Obama took to the White House lawn today to lament the technological problems that have prevented people from enrolling in plans offered through the federal exchanges. Todd-Malmlov said Minneosta's online insurance marketplace operates separately from the federal exchange. "We don't have any interaction with that at all, and that's what the president was talking about," she said (Richert, 10/21).

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