Md. officials vow to have marketplace working in November

The online insurance website was plagued with problems during last year's enrollment season, but state officials say they are confident the $40 million reconstruction of the site will work.

The Washington Post: Md. Health Officials: Rebuilt Health Insurance Online Site Will Be Fixed By Nov.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration is confident that its rapid rebuilding of the state's health insurance Web site is progressing as planned and will be ready before the next enrollment period begins in November. The state's first attempt at launching a site was riddled with technical problems that made it much more difficult for residents to sign up for health insurance made possible by the Affordable Care Act. Maryland is now rebuilding the site using technology developed by Connecticut. The fix is estimated to cost at least $40 million, if not much more (Johnson, 8/19).

Baltimore Sun: Health Exchange Seeks To Re-Enroll All Who Bought Insurance Plans
Maryland health exchange officials plan to contact every person who bought one of their insurance plans last year to get them to re-enroll in November. Most of the nearly 79,000 people who gained private coverage in the state under the Affordable Care Act were subsidized, and they will lose that benefit if they don't sign back up manually. Most people who do nothing will be automatically re-enrolled in the same or equivalent plans, according to Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, state health secretary and chairman of the exchange board. Evergreen Health Co-op, one of four insurers on the exchange, changed its plans too significantly to roll anyone over, he said (Cohn, 8/19).

In other exchange news -

Dallas Morning News: Group: Nearly 400,000 Texas Adults Have 'Life Events' And Qualify To Sign Up For Obamacare Before November
Round two of Obamacare enrollment starts Nov. 15. But a group promoting signups wants Texas' 5 million uninsured adults between the ages of 18 and 64 to know that as many as 365,000 of them are eligible today to go online and enroll in the federally run health insurance marketplace. ... if you move to another county, get married, have or adopt a child or gain citizenship, you have had what the Affordable Care Act deems a life-changing event that triggers a special enrollment period -; right now. On Tuesday, the group Enroll America and its Get Covered America campaign, which operates in Texas and 10 other states, released a report estimating that 365,691 uninsured adult Texans will experience one or more of those qualifying events in the 7 1/2 months between enrollment periods (Garrett, 8/19).

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Blue Cross Sued Again Over Narrow-Network Health Plans
Health insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross faces another lawsuit over switching consumers to narrow-network health plans -; with limited selections of doctors -; during the rollout of Obamacare. These types of complaints have already sparked an ongoing investigation by California regulators and other lawsuits seeking class-action status against Anthem and rival Blue Shield of California (Terhune, 8/19).

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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