Purging the In Box 5: ACA stories I don't have time to do write-ups on

Hawaii Public Radio (hey, what's up with their exchange website anyway? We heard a lot about Maryland & Massachusett's overhauls, and Oregon & Nevada moving to HC.gov, but not so much about Hawaii, which was also having nasty technical issues...) posts a list of 5 things people should remember going into the 2nd Open Enrollment Period...

Here's a quick checklist for people who don't get their health insurance at work and plan to shop for coverage on the health law's online exchanges. Enrollment starts Nov. 15, but you can start kicking the tires now.

Compare plans and prices at HealthCare.gov or, if your state has its own exchange, shop there to find out which coverage is best for you. And you may be eligible for subsidies to help pay your premium.

Keep these five things in mind as the three-month open enrollment period begins.

Not to be outdone, the Seattle Times has posted seven tips for #OE2:

n less than a week, uninsured Americans will again be able to buy health-care coverage. The second open-enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health-care overhaul begins Saturday, Nov. 15, and continues to Feb. 15.

That means Washington state consumers seeking private insurance will be able to go to the state’s online insurance marketplace, called Washington Healthplanfinder (www.wahealthplanfinder.org), to shop for plans and purchase a policy.

This is a real problem in states like California, Florida, Texas and Arizona, to name but a few:

With sign-ups set to resume Saturday, the 23-year-old Covina resident and her younger sister are hesitant to enroll because their parents are immigrants who are not citizens and therefore ineligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

Saldana, an after-school tutor, admits she could put the insurance to good use for a checkup, but she worries about putting her parents at risk or creating a rift at home.

"We've always done things together as a family," she said.

The Saldana sisters are among roughly 600,000 Latinos in California who remain uninsured — despite qualifying for subsidized coverage under the federal health law. Latinos outnumber whites and Asians among the 1.3 million Californians who are eligible for federal aid and lack private health coverage.

Politico reminds everyone (as if we needed it) that HC.gov had a few bugs in the system last year, and checks in on the situation this time around:

The administration, for its part, is much better prepared this fall to handle glitches. The tech SWAT team that made the frantic push to salvage the sign-up site last year is in the wings. Some are back at their regular Silicon Valley jobs, ready to swoop back in if they get the call from Washington. Others now work for the government, either toiling away at the new and improved HealthCare.gov or as part of a new White House-based cavalry of coders and software engineers ready to ride to a tech rescue anywhere the government needs them.

I don't like private, for-profit insurance companies at all, but I can live with CO-OPs...and they seem to be poised to do quite well this year:

Considering the challenges they faced during the first Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance marketplace open enrollment period, Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) overall are doing “very well,” according to Janice VanRiper, JD, PhD, executive director and chief executive officer of the National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs (NASHCO).

The new consumer-directed, not-for-profit health plans have signed up some 450,000 members across the nation--less than the 575,000 originally forecast for their first year, but still representing 18% of all ACA exchange plan enrollees to date. While NASHCO has not established a national enrollment target for the next ACA open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15, CO-OP organizers are cautiously optimistic.

In Kentucky, the kynect Obamacare exchange (once again: they're the same thing, dammit!) kicked butt last year and is ready to do even better this time around:

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear announced Monday that kynect, the state's health insurance marketplace, has a mobile app for Android and Apple phones along with a brick and mortar store opening Thursday at the Fayette Mall in Lexington. It's part of a host of new features state officials are rolling out in advance of the new open enrollment period that begins Saturday and runs through Feb. 15, 2015.

SHOCKER: People who hate Barack Obama would rather go without decent healthcare coverage than be a part of anything he's involved in:

Researchers found that compared to the insured population in 2013, after adjusting for financial concerns and medical needs, the uninsured were much more likely to enroll through the state's exchange if they thought Republicans or both parties caused the government shutdown.

And this is where politics came into the picture: uninsured people were not more likely to buy from the exchange if they blamed Democrats for the shutdown. So extra outreach efforts could be in order to reach these people, the researchers conclude.

Mother Jones gives an overview of my "Denny's Grand Slam" Halbig/King solution, although they seem to credit everyone in the universe with it except myself:

This idea—a state exchange in name only—is clever, and it would take less time and money than a state setting up its own exchange. (It's also eminently achievable: Oregon and Nevada already operate state exchanges that use federal technology.) But Bagley's plan still requires a state to want to save its residents' Obamacare subsidies.

The New York Times gives a pretty good overview of how the technical improvements at the state exchanges are going:

Many state-run exchanges say they now have carefully prepared backup plans if the websites fail, including paper applications. Maryland, in an abundance of caution, is rolling out its new system gradually instead of opening it to everyone Saturday. The exchange will hold a single enrollment fair that day where people can sign up with the help of trained counselors, but they will not be able to do so at home. On Sunday, people can start signing up by phone, and next Wednesday by themselves online.