Arkansas pauses development of health insurance exchange

bills health insurance coverage rates

Governor issues request to insurance exchange board to halt development for the time being

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has informed the Department of Health and Human Services that he has asked the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board to pause the development of an exchange for individual consumers. The board is in charge of overseeing the development of such a marketplace, which is meant to serve as a place for consumers to find affordable, yet comprehensive coverage. Governor Hutchinson wants the board to wait while a legislative task force develops recommendations on how to proceed with the exchange plan.

Task force aims to provide more insight into how insurance coverage could be made more accessible

The Governor suggests that he is operating out of an “abundance of caution,” as the state’s exchange must be made to support consumers that are in dire need of health insurance coverage. The legislative task force is working to develop a reform plan that would potentially benefit consumers more than an exchange would. The state is currently examining a Medicaid reform plan that may make an exchange unnecessary.

Task force to deliver its recommendations in December

bills health insurance ratesThe task force is required to issue its recommendations by December of this year. For now, development of the state’s health insurance exchange has been paused in order to allow time for the task force to formulate its opinion. The state approved the expansion of its Medicaid program in 2013 in order to ensure that a wider demographic of consumers could have access to health insurance coverage. Costs remain an issue, however, especially when dealing with the development of an insurance exchange.

Changes may have a beneficial impact on consumers in the future

The pause is not expected to have a significant impact on consumers and their health insurance coverage. If changes are made to the state’s exchange plans and its Medicaid program, consumers may find that their options for coverage change. Currently, state officials are working to determine ways to cover the costs associated with developing the exchange, as the use of federal funds has been restricted in certain cases.

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