KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Ill. Staged Costly Enrollment Campaign; Calif. College Sign-Ups Exceed Expectations

In health law implementation news, The Associated Press examines the $33 million that Illinois spent to promote enrollment. And a new California poll finds a significant drop in uninsured students at the California State University campuses.

The Associated Press: Illinois Health Campaign Among Costliest
President Barack Obama's home state agreed to spend $33 million in federal money promoting his health care law, hiring a high-priced public relations firm for work that initially was mocked and spending far more per enrollee on television ads than any other large state. After getting a late start and facing intense pressure to avoid more embarrassment for the much-maligned law, Illinois officials last summer inked the most lavish contract in the history of FleishmanHillard's Chicago office. The goal was getting uninsured residents to sign up for coverage. More than 90 people, including executives from the firm and its subcontractors, billed at least $270 an hour for salary and overhead during the first four months (Johnson, 6/12). 

Los Angeles Times: Share Of CSU Students Who Now Have Healthcare Exceeds Expectations
During the open enrollment period that ended in April, some officials worried that if not enough young, healthy people signed up for coverage, insurance companies would be left with too many sick and expensive customers, which would eventually cause carriers to raise premiums. According to a poll released Thursday, at the 15 largest CSU campuses, approximately 30% of students were uninsured before enrollment began, and 10% were uninsured after. The drop accounts for 60,000 students who became insured, and illustrates the late surge of young people who signed up for policies (Karlamangla, 6/12).

In Colorado -

Denver Post: Decision To Allow Noncompliant ACA Plans Came Despite No Law Change
Last fall, when President Barack Obama allowed states to extend policies that didn't comply with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado Division of Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar didn't believe she had the authority under state law to make that change. Six months later, Salazar reversed that decision and allowed insurance companies a one-year extension through 2015. In March, Obama allowed states up to a two-year extension (Kane, 6/13).

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