Exchanges: Vermont Announces Rates;Marketing Efforts Take Shape

The Associated Press: Vermont Announces Rates Under Health 'Exchange'
Vermont regulators on Monday announced monthly rates for health insurance to be sold under Vermont Health Connect, the health insurance exchange being set up to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act. Middle- and upper-class consumers who begin buying through Vermont Health Connect when it takes hold of Vermont's individual and small-group health insurance markets in January won't notice much difference in costs of insurance and benefits provided (Gram, 7/8).

Kaiser Health News: Health Exchange Pitch To Sports Fans Started In Fenway
It’s a Wednesday night in Boston, and Amy O’Leary is out at Fenway enjoying a Red Sox game and hoping for another year like 2007. That’s when the team won the World Series. ... It’s also the year that Massachusetts started requiring nearly all residents to have health insurance – and the Red Sox helped to get the word out about it. ... Now that other states are opening health insurance marketplaces, they’re trying the same strategy (Whitney, 7/9).

The Oregonian: Multimillion-Dollar Oregon Ad Campaign To Tout Health Insurance Marketplace
On Tuesday, a multimillion-dollar state ad campaign will break out across Oregon introducing people to something that's not even open yet: Cover Oregon, the state's new health insurance marketplace. ... Aside from its health-related slogan, the campaign goes conspicuously light on words like federal health reforms, insurance or the Affordable Care Act -- aka Obamacare. Instead, the ads describe Cover Oregon as "our healthcare marketplace." The idea is to avoid controversy and the polarized debate surrounding the federal law (Budnick, 7/8).

MPR News: Latinos Important To Success Of Obamacare In Minnesota
While Latinos comprise only about 5 percent of Minnesotans -- a small fraction of the state's population -- they are a big part of the uninsured population. ... That makes Latino communities a likely focus for efforts to reduce the number of Minnesotans lacking health coverage. ... [Eva Sanchez of Portico Healthnet] said health insurance itself can be a foreign concept for Latino immigrants, particularly if they grew up in a small town as she did. They often have no experience filling out health insurance forms, because where they lived there was no health insurance. Patients pay the doctor at the visit (Stawicki, 7/9).

Related, earlier KHN story: Latino Enrollment Key To Success Of Health Law Marketplaces (Gold, 6/25)

Meanwhile, the law's Medicaid expansion provision continues to draw attention. 

The Associated Press: Michigan GOP Leader Defends Medicaid Call
The leader of the Michigan Senate may press ahead in search of a Medicaid expansion plan to pass muster with fellow Republicans, but it's clear he doesn't appreciate how the governor called the Senate out for refusing to vote. If anything, Majority Leader Randy Richardville said, he saved Gov. Rick Snyder from a big defeat more than two weeks ago by not calling a vote on House legislation to expand eligibility for government-provided health insurance to 320,000 low-income adults in 2014 (Eggert, 7/8).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Medicaid Studies Kick Off With Marathon Hearings This Week
The battle lines were familiar Monday as a Missouri Senate committee kicked off an in-depth study of Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. While Democrats urged that Medicaid be expanded to cover the uninsured, Republicans said their top priority is overhauling the $9 billion system, to make it more cost-efficient and promote personal responsibility (Young, 7/9). 

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