Health insurance exchange opportunity may be missed by Idaho

health insurance reform

health insurance reform

It could be too late for the state to establish its own exchange.

The state of Idaho has now been cautioned that it may be too late for it to create its own health insurance exchange to be run by the state, as the federal deadlines are now rapidly approaching.

This, according to the Insurance Director of the state, Bill Deal.

Deal gave this warning to the lawmakers in the state because “We’ve not been given the direction to move forward.” He made this statement to the Idaho Legislature’s joint task force. He added that “now our timelines are getting to the point that, is it realistic that we could put together a state-based exchange at this particular time?”

Governor Butch Otter had been pushing for a health insurance exchange.

Otter wanted the health insurance marketplace to be run by the state and was aiming to have it ready as the healthcare reforms went into effect. In order to help reach this goal, the state received a federal grant worth $20.4 million in order to begin their planning. However, the Idaho lawmakers refused to use the money, in the hope that the Affordable Care Act would be overturned by the Supreme Court.

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However, the top court in the country upheld the law and now Otter is hoping that the state will be ready in time. He feels that by convening two working groups to examine the options available for the health insurance exchange in the state and whether or not the state should take part in the Medicaid expansion with federal funding, it will meet the deadlines. The work groups have begun their meetings and will continue into next week in order to provide Otter with their recommendations by the fall of this year.

Deal, however, explained to the Health Care Task Force of the Idaho Legislature, that he has already made the decision not to accept the next opportunity for a federal grant which has a deadline in the middle of August. Following that, the next chance the state will have to obtain federal funding for its health insurance marketplace will be in November, which is the same month in which the states must all submit their plans for their exchanges if they wish to control them themselves.

The recommendation that Deal has made is for a form of partnership health insurance exchange, which would allow the federal and state governments to share the responsibility for the marketplace.

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