Note: ACA Watch is an ongoing, bi-weekly series with aggregated stories and insights on the latest developments regarding the Affordable Care Act. Look out for it every other Thursday.
The Affordable Care Act has had a difficult launch. It’s been two weeks since the state and federally run health insurance marketplaces have been open, and news surrounding their effectiveness has been mixed. The states have cleaned up many glitches and are running better, while the federal system still needs some changes.
The insurance industry has so far called for patience with the website’s flaws, noting that there is plenty of time for repairs and registering consumers before open enrollment ends. However, there are reports that some insurers have received incomplete or faulty data files on new enrollees. There are no official numbers yet on how many people have signed up for health insurance through the federally facilitated marketplace. The Obama Administration will release that information on a monthly basis but not until November at the earliest.
According to state data, at least 38,000 people have signed up for new health plans in the state-run insurance marketplaces, while more than 100,000 have completed applications and are close to finishing the process. The data, tabulated by The Wall Street Journal, provide an early but incomplete glimpse of how the centerpiece of the ACA is faring. They show that health law supporters are still a long way from making a significant dent in the nation’s uninsured population, but suggest that the prospect of buying insurance without being asked about medical history has drawn considerable interest across the nation.
The Integrated Care Initiative (ICI) is Rhode Island’s new attempt to manage the care and costs of dual eligibles in the state. The ICI is being rolled out in phases, so it’s only dealing with Medicaid-covered services now. Phase two should include Medicare (which covers primary care and prescription drugs) but that’s only if the federal government agrees to the plan.
Senate leaders appear to be on the brink of a deal that would reopen the federal government and raise the nation’s debt ceiling. However, what would happen to Medicare and Medicaid if lawmakers don’t increase the nation’s borrowing power? If this week’s Senate Finance Committee hearing is any indication, it could mean a big interruption in cash flow and sharply lower rates of payment