Weekly Dose of Health News

With the health exchange marketplaces opening this week, Affordable Care Act  news took over the airwaves. NY and other states experienced technological glitches with their exchange websites but there’s still plenty of time for uninsured to enroll – and plenty of information out there to aid that process (as you will see below).

Mental Health Parity

The New York Times discusses the shortfalls of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, where health insurers are supposed to provide coverage for psychiatric and substance abuse care on a par with physical illnesses.  Insurers are balking at covering residential care and meetings with therapists, claiming that the treatment benefits are unclear.

Affordable Care Act/Health Exchanges

The NYS Health Foundation developed this interactive map of New York State residents who could gain coverage under Affordable Care Act implementation.

Crain’s New York describes the high hopes of New Yorkers and advocates on health care implementation.  The biggest challenge will be technological, i.e., coordinating multiple systems.  Another challenge is meeting the informational needs of consumers who are interested in marketplace coverage.

Kaiser Health News reports that health insurance marketplace consumers must pay their first premium by December 15 or risk not have coverage effective January 1, 2014.  If consumers miss this deadline, open enrollment will continue until March 2014.

Kaiser Health’s “What Obamacare Means For You” can be found here.  This is everything you want to know about the Affordable Care Act and the new health insurance marketplaces.

More Q&A on the new health marketplaces.

New York’s health marketplace website experienced almost 30 million hits in the first two days of operation, yet the state has only 2.7 million uninsured residents.  The New York State Health Department has doubled capacity and has been monitoring the site for intentionally disruptive activity.  Of the 30 million hits, 12,000 have actually entered the site.

New health care marketplaces will not be covering two-thirds of poor blacks, single mothers and more than half of low-wage workers, according to The New York Times.  Approximately eight million persons will be ineligible, since they live in one of 26 states that have decided not to expand Medicaid.  This includes every state in the Deep South, with the exception of Arkansas.

Politico writes that Obamacare has time to fix the enrollment glitches that consumers are experiencing, but that it should get fixed soon, before potential enrollees get scared off.  Experts also predict that the current volume of potential customers is real, but that it doesn’t mean that people will sign up right away.

-Jaime Venditti, 10/4/13