Connecticut’s plans for a health insurance exchange have hit turbulent waters. The state, which has supported the concept of an exchange program thus far, has unveiled the remaining members that will be overseeing the exchange program. Consumer groups had held on to hope that pro-consumer individuals would be added to the group of overseers as none had been included in the previous appointments made by Governor Dannel Malloy earlier in the year. Now, however, consumer groups have voiced their opposition of the latest appointments, saying that consumer interests are not being adequately represented.
As of now, the only member of the exchange panel that is considered pro-consumer is Vicki Veltri, who was appointed the state’s Health Care Advocate in January 2011. Veltri, however, has no vote on how the insurance exchange should be run. The other members of the exchange panel are regulatory figures and representatives of the health insurance industry. The issue has become so controversial that Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has begun receiving letters from Connecticut business people seeking her intervention.
Any changes to the panel would require some legislative action at this point. Legislators say that the issue can be addressed in 2012, but the longer Connecticut waits to move forward with it’s the plans, the less likely it is that the state will complete the exchange program by the federal deadline of 2014.