KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Struggle With Enrollment Data, Outreach To Minority Populations

News outlets report on state health exchange developments in Colorado, Maryland, California and Minnesota.

The Denver Post: Colorado's Health-Exchange Board Is Frustrated By Slow Enrollment Pace
State health insurance exchange officials said Monday they have 3,164 enrollments in Obamacare so far, expressing frustration with the slow pace during a special meeting. More than 44,000 Coloradans have created accounts with the exchange since its launch Oct. 1, but the difficulty of educating new customers in preparation for enrollment has been compounded by a series of computer glitches (Booth, 10/28).

The California Health Report: Covered California In Translation
State agencies and social service organizations have made highly publicized attempts to include non-English-speaking immigrants in either the Medi-Cal expansion or Covered California. In addition to English, officials have prepared materials on health reform in a dozen languages, trying to inform the state's largest immigrant populations. But with more than 200 languages spoken in California, there's concern that smaller populations might not get needed health care information (Richard, 10/29).

The San Jose Mercury News: Covered California Chief, Peter Lee, Defends Delay Of Enrollment Figures
Peter Lee, the head of the state's new health insurance exchange, said Monday that he will not reveal how many Californians have enrolled in health plans until mid-November. But once the figures are posted, Covered California's executive director told this newspaper's editorial board in a wide-ranging interview, the enrollment numbers will be among the most detailed in the country. He said they will be broken down by city and region, the age of the enrollees and which kind of plans they have selected (Seipel, 10/28).

California Healthline: Exchange Wants Covered California Days
The idea started in Sacramento, but it wasn't a statewide scheme at first, said Covered California executive director Peter Lee at the exchange board meeting last week. "A lot of state policy happens in Sacramento, but Sacramento is a local community, too. And locally, a lot of policy can happen," Lee said. "The idea is, [Sacramento] Mayor Kevin Johnson announced that Nov. 16 is going to be Covered Sacramento Day." That relatively small acknowledgement of the state's health benefit exchange now has taken off, Lee said (Gorn, 10/28).

The Baltimore Sun: Evergreen Faces Challenges In Delivering Health Insurance
Four weeks since it began selling health insurance on the state's new marketplace for the uninsured, Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. has signed up only five people. That's a long way from the nonprofit health insurance provider's first-year goal of 15,000 people, so Evergreen is already shifting focus (Cohn, 10/28).

Minnesota Public Radio: Latino Outreach Event Lands No MNsure Enrollments
Minnesota's new online health insurance marketplace, MNsure has been open for four weeks. But efforts to inform hard-to-reach populations about how they can sign up for heath care coverage are only now getting underway. That's what brought employees of Southside Health Services on Saturday to Karina's Beauty Salon in St. Paul's West Side neighborhood, the heart of the city's Latino community (Stawicki, 10/29).

Meanwhile, in news related to how states are doing with the federal exchange --

Health News Florida: Spanish Language Marketplace Site Up, But Not Running
The Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, was supposed to be up and running this past Monday, but instead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is directing users to its Spanish call center. Altamonte Springs resident Miriam Lopez said she heard it's better to apply online, so she's been reluctant to enroll by phone (Mandigo, 10/25).

Fox News: Obamacare Sites Fail To Rate Insurance Plans
Shopping for health insurance on the ObamaCare exchanges? Good luck. Not only will you have to navigate the technical problems that have plagued the site -- but in most states, those running the exchanges are not posting ratings that could give shoppers a clear sense of how good the plans are (La Jeunesse, 10/28).

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