Exchange Functionality: The Exchanges continue not to work as designed. Just this weekend, the entire Exchange website went down. The Administration announced on Friday that the Exchanges will be working by November 30th, well ahead of the December 15th enrollment deadline. During a hearing last week, all of the contractor placed blame directly on CMS (and HHS).
Enrollment: Here is a great graphic showing how many people have enrolled via the state-based Exchanges so far. National data won’t be released until November. Of the 115,000 individuals who have enrolled, more than 80,000 have signed up for Medicaid coverage.
Testifying: Secretary Sebelius will testify before Congress on Wednesday regarding Exchange implementation. Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will testify on Tuesday.
Mandate/Open Enrollment Delay: As the Exchanges continue to flounder, pressure mounts on the Administration to delay the individual mandate. However, Democrats are signing onto an idea put forth by Senator Shaheen. This would extend the open-enrollment period—the period when individuals can enroll for coverage which runs until March 31st –but not the mandate. Under the Shaheen proposal, individuals could still be hit with the mandate penalty for failing to enroll by March. Along those lines, individuals claimed last week that the White House delayed the mandate by six weeks. That isn’t quite true.
Medicaid Expansion: Last week, Ohio joined the list of states to expand Medicaid. Governor Kasich went around the legislature and got the state’s Controlling Board to rubber-stamp his expansion.