Colorado is taking steps to create a health insurance exchange as Governor John Hickenlooper signs a bill that would make the effort possible. Colorado is the eighth state to voluntarily adhere to the health care reform law championed by President Obama. The bill will also set up a regulatory group to oversee the exchange.
The group will be comprised of nine members, four of which coming from the insurance industry. The Governor is tasked with finding these members, a search he has already been doing nearly a month before he signed the bill.
Hickenlooper says that the bill shows that Colorado is unified in its pursuit of better health care. “The health exchange will give Coloradans more control, quality choices, and better protections when buying insurance,” he says.
The exchange will be funded by federal grants awarded to the state by the Department of Health and Human Services in recognition of the initiative taken. Efforts are already underway to establish the infrastructure of the exchange but it is unclear what insurance plans will be available through the exchange when it is launched.
Though the establishment of the exchange is now inevitable, several Republicans in the state have criticized their colleagues whom voted in favor of the bill. Some have gone so far as to launch primary challenges against their party members.
State officials expect that the Colorado exchange will be fully operational ahead of the federally established deadline of 2014.