How Will Health Exchanges Work? Business Versions May Offer Clues

News outlets look at how the health law's new online insurance marketplaces might work and examine the experiences of employees participating in private corporate exchanges. Others examine what some critics view as opportunities for fraud and bad actors.

Politico: Obamacare Primer: How Is It Really Going To Work?
In less than three months, people are going to be able to sign up for Obamacare coverage for the first time. To hear the Obama administration tell it, it'll be quick and painless. Fill out a short form, and new health insurance marketplaces will be instantly able to "ping" a massive data system that can check just about everything you say — keeping most people honest and cheats to a minimum (Nather, 7/15).

Fiscal Times/Bankrate: Why Health Exchanges Aren't Just for the States
America's first federal-state health insurance marketplaces, or "exchanges," are scheduled to open for early enrollment this fall, marking a major milestone of health care reform. But some of the estimated 159 million Americans with employer-based health coverage are getting a jump on the exchange experience by logging on to new private, corporate health care exchanges. Those are gaining traction with employers and offer lessons for future users of the other exchanges (MacDonald, 7/15).

The Hill: ObamaCare Advice Program Sparks Fights Across The Nation
An ObamaCare program that advises consumers on their new health insurance options is sparking fights across the country from critics who say it puts consumers at risk of fraud. Eighteen states have enacted or are considering legislation to apply tougher requirements to "navigators," the people and organizations who will help patients shop for health insurance on the Affordable Care Act's new marketplaces (Viebeck, 7/16).

The Washington Post's Wonk Blog: Obamacare Contractor Under Investigation In Britain
The British government has launched an investigation of Serco Group, parent company of the firm recently awarded $1.2 billion to manage key elements of the U.S. health-care law's rollout. That contract, announced in late June, is among the largest Affordable Care Act grants made so far, expected to cover the hiring of 1,500 workers who will process a wave of health coverage applications. In the United Kingdom, Serco Group reportedly overbilled the government by "tens of millions of pounds" under a contract to monitor offenders on parole and individuals released on bail, according to an audit conducted by the country's Justice Ministry (Kliff, 7/15).

Meanwhile, state news on the implementation of health exchanges and the Medicaid expansion -

The Associated Press: W. Va. Gov Again Quizzes Feds On Health Overhaul
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin pressed federal officials for more needed details Monday as West Virginia faces approaching deadlines for several key components of the health care overhaul. Tomblin, a Democrat, posed 10 questions to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius arising from expanding Medicaid and creating a health insurance marketplace (7/16).

The Associated Press: RI Launching Outreach Campaign For Health Exchange
Rhode Island is launching an effort to raise the profile of the online marketplace that individuals and small businesses can use to buy health insurance once the federal health care overhaul takes full effect next year. Christine Ferguson, director of the state-run health benefits exchange, said Monday the outreach campaign will include presentations to businesses, community groups and consumers in all 39 of Rhode Island's cities and towns and also will feature radio and TV ads and other promotions (Niedowski, 7/15).

Arizona Republic: Medicaid Wounds Are Still Raw In GOP
If the latest fracas between Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican Party operatives is any indication, it’s going to be a long, ugly 13 months until the 2014 primary election. Brewer recently reached out to the right wing of her party in hopes of healing wounds left by the bipartisan passage of Medicaid expansion, saying it’s time to put differences aside and unite for the good of the party. Conservative Republicans responded by sharpening their invective and moving forward with a series of “no confidence” votes against the governor and the 14 GOP lawmakers who backed the governor’s expansion plan last month (Reinhart, 7/16).

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