START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

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In-Box-Purgeapalooza Part 3

As I noted this morning, between the impending election on Tuesday, the upcoming 2nd Open Enrollment Period (henceforth to be designated "OE2" or hashtag #OE2), and a serious technical crisis with my day job which I've had to spend the past few days cleaning up, I have upwards of 150 ACA/Obamacare-related emails clogging up my In Box.

Most of them are worth a mention, but there's no possible way I can do a full entry/commentary/analysis on most of them, so I'm just doing roundup-style summary mentions:

Medi-Cal has no open enrollment period. State health officials are quick to point out that people can enroll for Medi-Cal any day of the year.

But Covered California's three-month open enrollment period starting Nov. 15 is expected to boost signups for Medi-Cal, as well -- even though the open enrollment period doesn't apply to Medi-Cal.

"For the Medi-Cal program we are open 365 days a year -- but we suspect at the same time we're going to get a lot more inquiries, a lot of people [applying for coverage through the exchange] may be eligible for Medi-Cal," said René Mollow, deputy director of health care benefits and eligibility at the Department of Health Care Services, which oversees Medi-Cal.

California is changing, and not just demographically; attitudes are shifting and a new generation is starting to build a voice for a stronger California. According to a new bipartisan poll commissioned by The California Endowment, 54 percent of all participants expressed support granting undocumented Californians the right to access care. Moreover, among participants between the ages of 18-29, 68 percent expressed support.

  • COLORADO: 1ST PARAGRAPH: Coloradoans face up to 77% rate hike

    "Colorado health-insurance consumers relying on tax credits will see their share of premiums rise an average of 77 percent next year if they keep the same plans, according to the state's preliminary analysis."

  • 6th PARAGRAPH: Shop around & save 18%

    If custome rs shop and choose a lower-cost option, their share of costs after tax credits could average as low as $132.71, a decrease of 18 percent, according to the insurance division's adviser, Wakely Consulting Group.

Here are some of the key questions I’ll be asking in the next year and years ahead: Are more people getting health insurance? Is the coverage affordable and useful to people? Is public health improving? Are people experiencing less medical debt and bankruptcies? Are the marketplaces working? Are health care companies surviving? Is health care spending growing at a sustainable rate — for the economy and the federal budget?

On Thursday, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell urged family physicians to help encourage U.S. residents to enroll in coverage through the Affordable Care Act, The Hill reports.

In prepared remarks to the American Academy of Family Physicians, Burwell said, "We're going to need your help and your support just as much as we did last year, if not more," adding, "We hope you'll encourage (your patients) to stay covered, and we hope you'll encourage any uninsured patients to go ahead and take that important step and get covered."

Taxpayers could save as much as $39 million statewide if teachers migrated from their current health plans to the "gold" plan offered by Vermont Health Connect, the Vermont School Boards Association said in a report released Tuesday.

But the executive director of the National Education Association's Vermont chapter said that would mean sharply higher out-of-pocket medical expenses than most teachers are facing now.

On October 27, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that the Federally-Facilitated Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace Early Access is operational in Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and Ohio. The federal SHOP "Marketplace" (the government's preferred term for what many states still refer to as "exchanges") was established under the Affordable Care Act.

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The second year to access insurance through Nevada's exchange is about to begin in a little over two weeks. 

The thousands who enrolled and would like to continue with their plans must re-enroll.

Xerox is gone. The many glitches and issues that plagued the exchange last year forced the exchange board to find an alternative. While it remains a state-based exchange, customers will go through healthcare.gov, the federal health insurance site.

Minnesota's health insurance exchange failed to properly authorize over $925,000 in marketing work and didn't update its contract with its vendor to cover it until after the job was done, Legislative Auditor James Nobles reported Tuesday.

He also found that MNsure lacked adequate internal controls over premiums collected from insurance applicants and didn't maintain proper inventories of equipment purchased with federal funds.

Barr is finishing his first term in Congress while Jensen, who runs an education nonprofit in Lexington, is making her first run for office.

Jensen said she would give President Barack Obama a B- for his job performance, saying he's been good for economy and the healthcare exchange that prompted the creation of Kynect, which has more than 500,000 Kentuckians enrolled.

The University of Kentucky’s Chandler Hospital has seen its inpatient numbers rise by 5 percent and its outpatient numbers rise by 10 percent since July. But its number of uninsured patients has dropped, from about 9 percent to 2.5 percent.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center has seen its number of uninsured patients drop since the state expanded Medicaid.

Prior to this year, says Chandler’s Dr. Michael Karpf, “we were getting paid 10 cents on the dollar” serving low-income patients. “Now we are getting 40 cents on the dollar, so the cost of care for these people isn’t totally covered, but there is a lot more reimbursement. It means we are having very strong bottom lines in the hospital.”

Kentuckians wondering whether our state needs the Affordable Care Act should look to Mississippi, which offers a sobering example of what happened after that state’s efforts to launch “Obamacare” collapsed amid partisan bickering and tea party politics.

A report this week in Kaiser Health News shows that the blow fell on the state’s most impoverished and sickest citizens, leaving Mississippi — already the country’s poorest state — “trapped in a severe and intractable health care crisis.”