The Countdown's On To Opening Day, But Enrollment Challenges Persist

Stateline reports on the advocacy group Enroll America's plan to focus on 10 states as it tries to get the uninsured enrolled in plans offered on the new online insurance marketplaces. Meanwhile, the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is asking the administration to delay the exchanges because of data security concerns. News reports also detail the latest exchange developments from Ohio, Washington and Texas.

Stateline: With 50 Days To Enrollment, A Focus On 10 States
[Enroll America], which has strong ties to the Obama administration, has been using more than 100 staff and about 3,000 volunteers to go door-to-door and to stage community events this summer to inform people about the opportunities for health care coverage on the exchanges. Its president, Anne Filipic, announced Monday that the group would focus most of its effort on 10 states with the largest number of uninsured and the lowest level of state-funded outreach: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. All but Illinois have Republican governors (Vestal, 8/12).

Dallas Morning News: Dallas Volunteers Spread World About Health Insurance Marketplace
Dallas County has more than 506,000 uninsured residents, according to 2010 U.S. census data, and it is those people, and the underinsured, [Enroll America] hopes to target. Texas has opted out of running a health insurance marketplace, which was created under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. That left it to the federal government to run one for the state, with volunteers and local government agencies to get the word out about enrollment. ... Informing residents about the next steps is critical in Texas, which has the highest rate of uninsured — about 27 percent — in the nation. In Dallas County, 26 percent of people are uninsured. Enroll America is attempting to get the word out the old-fashioned way, by knocking on doors
(8/13).

CQ HealthBeat: McConnell Wants CMS To Delay Exchange Opening, Cites Data Security Concerns
The Senate's top Republican has asked the Obama administration to delay the Oct. 1 opening of the health care law exchanges, citing concerns over the security of the data hub — the information linchpin the new marketplaces will rely on to successfully enroll people in insurance plans (Bunis, 8/12).

The Hill: McConnell Seeks ObamaCare Delay, Citing Security Fears
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that the Obama administration should delay its signature healthcare law because of concerns about data security. McConnell cited a recent report that said the Health and Human Services Department has missed deadlines for testing the security of a newly created data hub. The health law's insurance exchanges should not open until the data hub's security is more certain, McConnell said (Baker, 8/12).

Medpage Today: ACA Exchanges May Aid Quality Reporting
State health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will eventually be a mechanism for delivery reform and quality reporting, an insurance exchange expert predicted. States will eventually use the exchanges' powers to set criteria for health insurers and their providers, which could include such things as requiring participation in alternative payment models, Sarah Dash, MPH, from Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reform, said Friday. "They're basically creating contracting requirements," Dash noted at an Alliance for Health Reform briefing on the ACA's exchanges (Pittman, 8/12).

The Associated Press: Advocates Question Ohio Health 'Navigators'
An Ohio legislative panel on Monday cleared new state rules for professionals guiding people through the insurance marketplaces created by the federal health care law, despite concerns from some consumer groups that the regulations create confusion. The rules stem from a new state law that governs who can be a so-called insurance navigator and what duties they can perform (8/12).

The Seattle Times: Wash. Rejection Of 5 Companies' Health Plans Draws Criticism
Critics say that Washington state's rejection of individual health-insurance plans from five companies that applied to sell inside the newly created exchange marketplace will limit consumer choices and hurt continuity of care for those with low incomes (Ostrom, 8/13).

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