CMS Chief Expresses Optimism About Federal Exchange Enrollment

But other signs, such as the number of insurance carriers applying to sell policies in Illinois' health insurance marketplace, suggest cause for concern. Meanwhile, Modern Healthcare reports on the downside of the Obama administration's shorter application form for purchasing insurance through the exchanges.

CQ HealthBeat: CMS Chief Bullish On Exchange Enrollment
The head of the agency putting in place the health care law expressed confidence Wednesday that states with federal health insurance exchanges will have enough hands on deck to enroll millions of uninsured Americans. Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also said that the feds' biggest publicity push for enrollment won’t be seen until late summer or early fall, closer to the Oct. 1 sign-up launch date (Norman, 5/1).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Fewer Carriers Than Expected Apply For Illinois Health Marketplace; Raises National Concerns
Only six insurance carriers have told the state of Illinois they want to sell a combined 165 health policies on the state's online insurance marketplace under the nation's new health care law — numbers far lower than expected, raising concerns the trend will hold true across the country. Fewer health plans could mean less competition and possibly higher premium prices. Officials in President Barack Obama's home state had anticipated some 260 health plans would be offered by 16 different insurance carriers, based on a survey the Illinois Department of Insurance conducted last fall (5/1).

Modern Healthcare: Shorter Exchange Application Could Be A Headache For Some States
While consumers are likely to benefit from the CMS' announcement Tuesday that individuals applying for health coverage through exchanges would face a much shorter application form than the 21-page form initially proposed, the decision could be problematic for states that are already far along in developing their exchange IT system, according to the executive director of one state-run exchange. Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange, said the change to a shorter application comes after his exchange has already completed coding required for system integration based on the original, 21-page application, meaning that the exchange's IT system may not recognize data from the new form (Block, 5/1).

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