END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

Grab Bag: VT expands tech contract; MN having trouble finding uninsured...and CA requiring insurance companies to provide abortion coverage

Hat Tip To: 
Brian W., others

Three more quick hits...the third one really deserves its own entry, but frankly, I'm too exhausted today and want to get it off the books, so...

Vermont: STATE SIGNS $9.5 MILLION CONTRACT EXPANDING ROLE OF OPTUM IN HEALTH CARE EXCHANGE

Vermont signed a revised contract with the tech firm Optum that expands its role in Vermont Health Connect’s operations.

Optum already had a contract worth $5.6 million for consulting work, and the latest deal, signed Aug. 15, is worth an additional $9.5 million for a total of $15.1 million.

 

...At latest count, Optum has helped the state halve its backlog of coverage changes and information errors from a high of more than 14,000 to roughly 7,000. Also, close to 4,000 people are having billing issues with Vermont Health Connect. There is some overlap between the two groups, Miller said.

Minnesota exchange gets new marketers

The news that MNsure is switching to a new ad team isn't that noteworthy, but check out the reasoning (in bold):

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota's health insurance exchange has named two firms to run its marketing for the next two years.

MNsure said Friday that Grassroots Solutions and Clarity Coverdale Fury will handle the work, with a new marketing campaign to launch this fall. The two contracts total about $2.1 million.

BBDO Proximity handled marketing for MNsure during the first year of its launch, with playful ads featuring Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe, at a cost of about $1.6 million.

MNsure spokesman Joe Campbell says the new campaign puts a stronger focus on grassroots marketing because as the number of insured people grows, it gets harder to find and sign up uninsured people.

Now there's a sign of how times have changed...

Finally, here's the big one out of California:

Health insurance companies can no longer deny abortion coverage

Spurred by faculty and staff outrage over the refusal by two Catholic universities to pay for elective abortions, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration on Friday announced that health insurance companies in the state can no longer deny coverage for these procedures.

California’s Department of Managed Health Care, which oversees HMOs, issued letters to seven insurance companies saying refusing to pay for any abortion, whether medically necessary or not, violates the state constitution and a 1975 state law.

“All health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally,” department director Michelle Rouillard wrote in the two-page letter that also noted the decision becomes effective immediately.

I'm sure that won't cause anyone's feathers to get ruffled...not that it should, of course, since it's not a new law, just the enforcement of an existing one...