In Maryland, support is solid for health overhaul, state's exchange

A new poll finds 55 percent of state residents back the federal health law, even as Maryland plans to spend $2 million to address a problem with the online insurance marketplace. In related news, the deadline is approaching for states to spend federal grants they received to set up exchanges.

The Washington Post: Poll: Majority In Maryland Back Health Reform, Want To Stick With State Online Exchange
If President Obama is weary of complaints about his struggling health-care law, he might want to spend even more time in the reliably blue state of Maryland. Fifty-five percent of state residents back the federal health-care reform effort, according to a new Washington Post poll, with more than one-third of Marylanders saying they "strongly support" it. Nationally, opinion is much more mixed (Johnson and Craighill, 2/19).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Exchange Woes Come Before Md. Board
A Denver-based company will be paid up to $2 million more to help address one of the problems resulting from computer glitches with the state's health care exchange. The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved the modification to the contract with Policy Studies Inc. It is needed for broker services to help Medicaid-eligible residents who applied through the health exchange to choose a managed care organization (2/19).

Marketplace: States Face Deadlines For Affordable Care Act Grants
The Affordable Care Act included grants for states to set up their own health insurance exchanges, and the deadlines for spending that money are happening this winter. Some states applied for the cash but then used little, or none, of the money because of political opposition to the law, according to Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Some of the states that were actively opposed to the law have actually returned the money," he says. Other states, like New Jersey, which faces a deadline Thursday, let their deadlines expire. Levitt says states that did use the grant money were able to spend some of it on outreach (Marshall-Genzer, 2/19).

Meanwhile, some news about corporate thoughts on exchanges -

The Wall Street Journal's CFO Journal: Companies Eye Exchanges For Health Plans: Report
Most U.S. employers will continue to sponsor health benefits for their employees over the next few years, but the way that benefits are provided may begin to shift for many workers, according to a report. A third of employers plan to provide health benefits to their active employees through a private health exchange in the next three to five years, according to the report by Aon Hewitt, the consulting unit of Aon PLC, an insurance broker based in London (Kapur, 2/19).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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