For Health Exchanges, Will Soft Launches Lead To Hard Landings?

CQ HealthBeat examines whether the new online insurance marketplaces will be ready to go on Oct. 1, and what possible delays might emerge and how those delays could impact the exchanges' effectiveness. Also in the headlines, reports from Delaware, Kentucky, Washington, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia.

CQ HealthBeat: Soft Launch May Not Be Threat To Exchanges – But Hard Landings Will
Since its birth, the health law has had one Damoclean sword or another suspended over it. The latest: Will health insurance exchanges actually launch given the complex streams of data they must coordinate? Right up until the exchanges' scheduled debut 26 days from now, the answer to that question won't be known for sure. But there's little evidence at the moment to suggest that exchanges won't ever launch, or that any delays will be so serious as to keep the uninsured from getting coverage by the start of 2014 (Reichard, 9/5).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Delaware Officials Still Don't Know Premium Costs For New Health Insurance Exchange
Officials overseeing Delaware's implementation of the federal health care reform law still don't know what residents will pay for health care coverage under a new state health insurance exchange. Officials expect to begin enrolling some 35,000 people in the health insurance exchange starting Oct. 1, for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2014 (9/5).

The Louisville Courier-Journal/USA Today: Ky. Probes Humana Letter On Insurance Renewal
The letter Ray Brundige received from Humana spelled out two options — keep his health insurance policy for one more year for a $279 monthly premium or choose a new one that complies with the Affordable Care Act and pay a whopping $619 a month. But the letter also said he had to make a choice by Sept. 20, before the Oct. 1 start of Kentucky's health benefit exchange, a program designed to let him and other Kentuckians shop for less-expensive insurance that complies with the health care law, often called Obamacare, and possibly qualify for government subsidies to help pay for it (Unger, 9/5).

Kaiser Health News/Seattle Times: Capsules: Washington State Call Center Logs 900 Calls On 1st Day
The phones are already busy at the Washington State Exchange call center where customer service representatives are fielding hundreds of questions about the state's new health insurance exchange, slated to open for enrollment Oct. 1. The call center, located in Spokane, opened on Tuesday and took 900 calls that day (Landa, 9/6).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Community Groups Feel Heat Of D.C. Health-Care Battle
The letter from Washington arrived on Laura Line's desk Wednesday, three weeks after her nonprofit won a federal grant to help consumers make sense of the health-insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act and four weeks before they were to open for business. It gave her nine days to provide Republicans on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce with all details and documents, electronic and paper, in her possession and not, involving the $953,716 her organization is getting to assist with health-insurance enrollment in 10 Pennsylvania counties (Sapatkin, 9/5).

Arizona Republic Health Care Reform Ramps Up In Arizona
Beginning what will be a years-long effort to enroll Arizonans into health-insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of volunteers will canvass Phoenix and Tempe neighborhoods this weekend seeking out some of the state’s 1 million uninsured residents. Using mapping technology and political-campaign-style organization, the national non-profit group Enroll America is working with local health-care and social-service agencies to locate the uninsured, answer their questions about the federal health-care overhaul and get them signed up (Reinhart, 9/5).

Georgia Health News: Nonprofit Set To Promote Ga. Exchange Enrollment
A national nonprofit encouraging enrollment in insurance exchanges will kick off its Georgia operations this weekend with a neighborhood outreach effort in metro Atlanta. Enroll America's newly hired state director, Dante McKay, said Thursday that local staff and volunteers will educate consumers this weekend about the new exchange, or marketplace, set to begin enrolling Georgians next month (Miller, 9/5).

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