State Websites Stumble With First Steps; Provider Rates, Coverage Questions Emerge

News outlets report on state efforts to smooth out glitches in health insurance web sites.

The Washington Post: Maryland's Health Insurance Web Site Stumbles Badly In First Days
Barely 24 hours after President Obama signed his landmark health law, Gov. Martin O’Malley promised that Maryland would "lead the nation"in putting it in place. ... But when Tuesday arrived, Maryland’s Web site stumbled badly. People couldn’t log on, forcing state officials to delay the opening of the exchange for four hours. Even after it opened, many frustrated users were unable to create accounts, the first step in buying coverage. All told, fewer than 100 people have managed to enroll (Sun, 10/4).

The Baltimore Sun: Glitches Persist On Maryland Health Insurance Exchange
The issues with marylandhealthconnection.gov, the online exchange set up under national health reform, prompted some analysts to suggest that the system's software and servers aren't robust enough. ... Consumers are supposed to be able to visit Maryland Health Connection, create an individual account and browse a variety of health insurance plans before buying one, much as they would book an airline flight. The exchange was created to provide a place for Maryland's 800,000 uninsured to find health coverage (Walker, 10/4).

NPR: Glitches Slow Health Exchange Sign-ups
The launch of Georgia's health care exchange began with a great deal of optimism at the East Point Pubic Library, just south of Atlanta. The chair of the Fulton County Commission, John Eaves, stressed that despite the federal government's shutdown, the exchanges would be open. ... About 22 million Americans are uninsured and eligible for the exchanges. More than 1.8 million live in Georgia and it's that group that federal officials and new health care navigators want to reach (Lohr, 10/5).

Also: analysis of how much the health law will affect Connecticut residents' coverage and how some California provider rates aren't yet set.

The CT Mirror: For Thousands Of Connecticut Residents Obamacare Means Changing Insurance Plans
It’s been a consistent talking point for supporters of the federal health reform law: If you like your health plan, you’ll be able to keep it when the major provisions of the law take effect. But for many people in Connecticut who buy their own insurance, that’s not the case. Instead, many customers in the state’s individual market will have to find new plans because insurance carriers are discontinuing current policies and creating new ones that fit the requirements of the health law (Levin Becker, 10/4).

California Healthline: Some Exchange Provider Rates Up In Air
[S]ome provider rates have been established for the exchange, for the individual market, according to Nicole Evans, vice president for communications at the California Association of Health Plans. With three short months until actual coverage benefits begin, however, not all provider rates have been set. In California, the small business exchange (or SHOP, the Small-Business Health Options Program) has established plans and premium rates, while the provider rates should be worked out by the end of November, according to Evans  (Gorn, 10/4).

Related, earlier KHN/NPR story: Small Businesses May Find Relief In Health Insurance Exchanges Designed For Them (O'Neill, 10/3)

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.