Friday, October 19, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Friday, October 19

With November less than a month away some states are completing their exchanges, some waiting, and some still undecided. Today we look at Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

 This week Colorado, small businesses were assured that by 2014, their employees would have both flexible benefits and more insurance options. Patty Fontneau, executive director and CEO of the exchange, assured residents that the exchange will allow them options, not limit or minimize what they have now. “This is a Colorado concept,” she said. “And it will allow more transparency, more data. And if you use a broker, then you can still use one. It’s just easier to look at options. This type of plan just brings more power and more control to small businesses across the board. There are a number of tools that will be available, a number of choices. Businesses can choose any carrier.” Colorado will also continue to allow any small business that is currently using a broker now to use one in the exchange.  

In Pennsylvania, insurance commissioner, Joel Ario, urged the state to set up their own exchange. "I started thinking of the states as speedboats, racing around, zig-zagging, trying things, failing, trying something else," he said. "That's why it would really be a travesty if states don't actually step up and do their own exchanges, because they will be so much better at it than the federal government can be." Pennsylvania was granted over $33 million dollars to set up an exhange, and they have less than a month to set it up. By 2014 all states must have an exchange in order.

Some executives in Maryland are praising the health insurance exchange, citing that it has even improved their employee morale. If state officials have their way, about half of the roughly 730,000 Maryland residents without health insurance will obtain coverage by 2020. A key mechanism to make that happen is the state’s health care exchange, which will operate as a facilitator to small businesses and individuals seeking coverage, Rebecca Pearce, executive director of Maryland’s exchange, said Wednesday during a forum at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. The health insurance exchange will actually allow residents to choose a plan that suits them online, not take their insurance away. They will have more control and be able to compare and contrast a plan that works best for them, but they can't do that without working together first. 

Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!

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