Idaho may miss chance to build health insurance exchange

Idaho Insurance Commissioner, Bill Deal

Idaho Insurance Commissioner, Bill Deal

Upheld law requires states to comply with provisions

The Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. While many may still oppose the law and its various provisions, states are required to comply with the law or risk facing consequences. For those that have spent the better part of the past two years fighting the law, it may be too late to comply with one of its less controversial provisions: The establishment of health insurance exchanges. This may indeed be the case for Idaho.

Insurance Commissioner warns that a health insurance exchange may not be feasible

This week, Idaho Insurance Commissioner Bill Deal met with lawmakers and informed them that the state may not be able to adhere to a federal deadline concerning the building of a health insurance exchange. The exchange program is meant to provide consumers with access to affordable health insurance plans. States are tasked with creating, maintaining, and regulating their own health insurance exchange. According to the deadlines outlined in the Affordable Care Act, states have until 2013 to submit their plans for an exchange to the federal government. Exchanges must be fully operational by 2014.

Politics may have serious consequences for the state

According to Commissioner Deal, those responsible for the construction of the health insurance exchange have not been given the resources necessary to move forward in their efforts. As such, the timeline for the state has reached a point where an exchange may no longer be a realistic project in the time allotted. Part of the problem may lie with the state’s political structure. Last year, Idaho received $20 million in federal grants to build an exchange, something that was welcomed by Governor C.L. Otter. The money was turned away, however, by the states legislators.

Idaho may lose control of its exchange to the federal government

If Idaho cannot comply with federal deadlines, it may run the risk of losing control of its health insurance exchange. As of the upholding of the Affordable Care Act, every state is required to host a health insurance exchange. Whether these states choose to run the exchange or not it a non-issue, as the federal government will step in and ensure that a health insurance exchange is operating in each state if necessary.

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