Oregon – Alaska, Delaware, and Texas all rely on healthcare.gov, the federal website that was extremely balky for the first two months of its operation. Oregon’s dysfunctional website was homegrown — and it still isn’t fully functional. Despite this, Kristian Foden-Vencil of Oregon Public Broadcasting, reports that the state is in the middle of the pack: “By late December, Oregon had enrolled about 18,000 people via the website, with the help of state navigators. That’s more than 23 other states for the same time period.”
Colorado – Another state running its own exchange is Colorado, which has signed up 59,000 people for private insurance and another 81,000 for expanded Medicaid, Eric Whitney reports for Colorado Public Radio. Whitney says that Connect for Health Colorado is going to shift its advertising in the coming months. “Since opening October 1, the group’s marketing messages have focused on the benefits of health insurance,” Whitney says. “Now, the messages will start reminding people they face a tax penalty if they don’t have health coverage this year.”
Minnesota – Like Oregon, Minnesota has a state-run exchange that has weathered many problems, culminating in a change of leadership. Minnesota Public Radio’s Elizabeth Stawicki reports that lawmakers are trying to ferret out what went wrong in hearings. “Meanwhile, about 72,000 Minnesotans have signed up for coverage as of the end of the year,” Stawicki says. “Of those, about two-thirds are receiving government coverage such as Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. About 26,000 have signed up for commercial insurance. Of those, the median age has dropped a couple years to age 48.”
New York – Lawmakers are grilling exchange officials in New York too, where 156,902 people had signed up for private coverage by the end of December, WNYC’s Fred Mogul reports: “Several members of the Senate Health Committee relayed complaints from their constituents on everything from lack of Spanish translation to unclear listings of eligible doctors and hospitals.” The panel heard from an opthalmologist who had been dropped from the Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield network as a provider. “At the same time,” Mogul writes, “she also held an Empire plan for herself and her husband and her employees, and she discovered their physicians were no longer in-network, either.”
“Every single one of us were losing our doctors – 100% of our doctors,” Dr. Patricia McLaughlin told the committee.
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
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