Michigan struggles with building an exchange program
Michigan has been grappling with setting up its own health insurance exchange. The state is required to build an exchange by federal law. The Michigan health insurance exchange would provide residents with access to affordable insurance coverage and would likely create more competition in the state’s insurance industry. Governor Rick Snyder has announced that the state may petition the federal government to take over the effort and run the exchange itself. This would mean that the Michigan health insurance exchange would not actually be controlled or regulated by the state.
Deadlines and financial constraints a significant challenge for Michigan health insurance exchange
Governor Snyder cites daunting deadlines as one of the major factors influencing the possibility of handing over the exchange effort to the federal government. The state has until November 16 to inform the federal government that it will not be building an exchange program. If this is done, the Michigan health insurance exchange may be built through a collaborative effort from the state and the government, or the matter will rest entirely in the hands of the U.S. Department of Health and Services.
Despite troubles, Governor hopes state will control some aspects of exchange program
The state may be backed against a proverbial corner due to financial constraints and intimidating deadlines, but Governor Snyder is keen to ensure that the state will still have a part to play in the health insurance exchange. If the federal government does take over the effort, state officials will not have a say in what kind of policies are offered or how they are priced. They may be able to control the more mundane aspects of the Michigan health insurance exchange, however, such as compensation for independent agents and serving as liaison between federal regulators and insurance companies.
Michigan lawmakers show opposition for the exchange program
Michigan has already received $10 million in funding from the federal government, but has made little progress in developing a cohesive plan for an exchange program. Many state legislators have chosen to put the exchange effort on the back burner while they petition the federal government for answers regarding the program. All states currently face a January 1, 2014, deadline where they must have fully operational health insurance exchange programs in place. Those that do not comply with the deadline will lose control of their exchanges.