END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

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Friday Night Short Cuts

Health Connector Executive Director Maydad Cohen released the updated numbers Friday, the day Gov. Charlie Baker announced he was extending through Jan. 28 the deadline for people to sign up and pay for insurance plans that take effect Feb. 1. The deadline originally was Friday.

Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Louis Gutierrez, a veteran of the last three Republican administrations, to lead the Massachusetts Health Connector.

Gutierrez will replaceJean Yang, who was executive director of the state's health insurance exchange under former Democratic Governor Deval Patrick. Baker, a Republican, was widely expected to bring in his own appointee to head the organization, which has had a difficult year.

A top official from the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange resigned as its chief operating officer.

Shawna DeRousse, the state official who led the exchange through its troubled first year and during its current rebound, will leave at the beginning of next month.

DeRousse is one of three key officials to depart from the exchange since last year. She has been with the agency since it started three years ago. The exchange’s first executive director, Jon Hager, left in February. C.J. Bawden, the exchange’s first communications director, left in August.

Idaho's health care system for the poor has been stretched to its limits and needs an overhaul, the program's director said Thursday.

The Catastrophic Health Care Cost Program handled fewer cases last year than it had previously, but it continued to be burdened by issues such as mental health care, Roger Christensen told state budget writers.

...He called for an overhaul, saying that any alternative would be an improvement over the current system. He stopped short, however, of calling for an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Idaho lawmakers have consistently resisted expanding Medicaid eligibility, with Republican leaders saying they don't trust promises from the federal government to pay for the program.

California residents whose Medi-Cal applications have been stuck in limbo for months have won a legal victory over the state after a superior court judge ruled that they were entitled to receive medical care until their eligibility was decided.

Alameda Court Judge Evilio M. Grillo said in his ruling filed Tuesday that those who sued the state were correct in claiming that the California Department of Health Care Service did not comply with its duty to make a decision on their eligibility within 45 days.

Staff of the Washington Health Benefits Exchange, which manages the state’s Wahealthplanfinder health-insurance exchange, told its board today that it had significantly improved the processing of account invoices and payments to insurance carriers.

Richard Onizuka, CEO of the exchange told board members that of the accounts processed in December, those with carrier-payment problems were down to 1.7 percent, and those with invoicing problems were 1.5 percent. “We are seeing some improvement,” Onizuka said. “It still means that too many people are being affected.”

The fight to curb enforcement of the federal Affordable Care Act in South Carolina has started again in the State House.

The first panel hearing for a House bill – to make it a fireable offense for a public worker to help establish a state health insurance exchange or enforce rules that require people to have health insurance – was held Thursday before a standing room-only crowd.

South Carolina is not taking part in the expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for the poor and disabled under the federal health care law.