Health insurance exchange delays expected in Pennsylvania

Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine

The state now believes that it is unlikely that it will be able to have its own marketplace prepared in time.

According to the commissioner of Pennsylvania, it is unlikely that the state will be ready to implement and operate its own health insurance exchange by the required federal deadline of January 2014.

The top official said that there have been too many delays to be able to meet this deadline.

Michael ConsedinInsurance Commissioner Michael Consedinee, the insurance commissioner for Pennsylvania, released a statement that explained that the online health insurance marketplace – which is a central element to the Affordable Care Act – has been held back due to a large number of questions regarding the details of its operations and cost, which have yet to be answered by the federal government.

He said that the state intends to make educated and intelligent health insurance exchange decisions.

Consedine stated that “We want to make smart, informed decisions for Pennsylvanians,” and went on to explain that “We’re not going to rush headlong into this and make poor choices.”

Aside from having to create and operate their own health insurance exchanges, states are also given additional options, such as allowing the federal government to take over the marketplace responsibility completely, or jointly running them. Should Pennsylvania fail to choose to either operate the exchange on their own or jointly, the federal government will take it over completely for its start in 2014.

Consedine did explain that there isn’t any penalty for a delayed start to the launch of a state run health insurance exchange. For that reason, “We certainly think a wait-and-see approach has some advantages.”

Advocates for Americans who are uninsured or underinsured had been hopeful that a state run exchange might help to better serve the health insurance needs of those individuals, but added that a marketplace run by the federal government would be adequate as long as the coverage that it provides is of a high quality. A study performed by the Insurance Department in 2011 showed that there are an estimated 2 million people in Pennsylvania who will be using the online exchange for purchasing their policies.

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