FBI Turns Attention To Oregons Health Exchange Troubles
Meanwhile, Maryland is working to rebuild its website. News outlets from Colorado and Washington also offer updates. The Wall Street Journal: FBI Scrutinizing Health Law Implementation Flaws in OregonThe Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into problems that plagued Oregon’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act, after the state was forced to scrap its problematic health insurance exchange that was never fully functional, according to people familiar with the investigation (Paletta and Barrett, 5/4). The Oregonian: FBI, Inspector General Investigators Probing Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange DebacleThe law enforcement arm of the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also launched at least a preliminary inquiry into potential spillover from Cover Oregon into the state’s Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan, The Oregonian has learned. Meanwhile, both the Government Accountability Office and the U.S. House oversight committee have announced their own investigations (Budnick, 5/2). The Washington Post: As Md. Rebuilds Its Health Insurance Exchange, Lots Of Pressure And Little Room For MisstepsMaryland is sprinting to rebuild its malfunctioning online health insurance system on a time schedule that leaves no room for error, without the endorsement of the federal government or a clear plan for funding the project. The state has adopted software from Connecticut and hired new consultants. But many of the decision makers who led the first, flawed effort remain in place and — despite criticism — continue to operate largely behind closed doors (Johnson and Flaherty, 5/3).The Baltimore Sun: Maryland Wraps Up Late Enrollment On Its Health Exchange Maryland’s health exchange officials say they have contacted all 18,000 people who reported having trouble signing up for insurance through the state’s online marketplace before the end of open enrollment in April and added 7,500 people to the rolls. Others enrolled on their own and still more were duplicates, said Alison Walker, a spokeswoman for the exchange (Cohn, 5/2). The Denver Post: Colorado Health Care Exchange Faces Financial Challenges Connect for Health Colorado officials have touted the state’s insurance exchange as frugal and having relatively low fees. But after spending at least $100 million in federal funding, the exchange is scrambling to figure out how to sustain itself beyond this year. The exchange may find itself in a difficult position as it seeks solutions in coming months because some members of its own board, along with a vocal group of legislators, oppose fee increases. Its financial outlook may have worsened Friday when the state extended through 2015 health plans that aren’t compliant with the Affordable Care Act, which is likely to lower enrollments through the exchange (Kane, 5/5). The Seattle Times: 4 More Insurers Want To Join State Health Exchange Four additional companies want to join the competition to sell individual health-insurance plans inside the Washington Healthplanfinder online exchange, and the eight currently selling plans there all propose to return for 2015, according to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. While the new entries mean 12 companies may be selling plans inside the exchange, 10 propose to offer plans outside the exchange, compared with nine this year (Ostrom, 5/4). Colorado also makes news with its decision to extend plans not meeting the health law’s standards while Georgia’s health law opposition enters another phase – The Denver Post: Colorado Extends Health Plans Not Meeting ACA Standards Through 2015 The Colorado Division of Insurance announced Friday it will allow insurance carriers to continue health plans for individuals and small groups that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s new rules for minimum coverage through 2015. The insurance division said the decision was based on President Barack Obama’s March announcement to extend noncompliant policies issued through the federal exchange. That decision helped defuse a political problem for Democrats in tough re-election battles this fall, and observers said the latest move is likely to do the same in Colorado, which has its own health care exchange (Draper, 5/2).Health News Colorado: Colorado Allows Canceled Health Plans Through 2015Colorado will allow about 100,000 people who kept previously canceled health insurance plans to extend them until the end of 2015, but very few health insurance companies are likely to keep selling the plans. … [Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar] said about 335,000 people received notices that their plan would be canceled because it did not comply with ACA requirements. Of those, Salazar estimated that 92 percent were given the option to extend their non-compliant plans. If about one-third of them took that option, about 100,000 people might be eligible to renew those plans (McCrimmon, 5/2). Georgia Health News: Georgia’s Battle With Obamacare Enters New PhaseThe most prominent opponent of Obamacare in the Georgia General Assembly says he’s not done fighting the law. Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) pushed through the Legislature a Tea Party-supported bill that prohibits the state from running its own insurance exchange. House Bill 943, passed at the tail end of the General Assembly, also forbids state employees to advocate for Medicaid expansion, and halts the “navigator” insurance counseling program at the University of Georgia. The bill was signed into law this week by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal (Miller and Craig, 5/2). FBI Turns Attention To Oregon’s Health Exchange Troubles This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.