A report laying out the major element of the Maine health insurance reform – its healthcare exchange – has been presented to the state legislative committee and is being received with dissatisfaction from Democrats.
Senator Joseph Brannigan (D-Portland) said that upon receipt of the report, he and the other Insurance and Financial Services Committee members are disappointed. He explained that “It just doesn’t seem friendly and inviting as a marketplace for businesses and people shopping for insurance.”
The Affordable Care Act, which is the heart of the overhaul of the healthcare system in the United States, requires each state to set up a nonprofit insurance exchange which will need to be fully up and running by January 2015.
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The report that was presented to the committee made recommendations regarding the ways in which the exchange in Maine should be structured, and was developed by an advisory panel of nine people, which was created earlier in 2011 by the Legislature.
The Affordable Care Act’s ability to survive the many legal challenges it is facing in federal courts – and will likely also include the Supreme Court – will help to determine whether or not the Maine exchange is ever actually put into practice.
The bill currently meets the federal guidelines and was advanced. It includes elements such as the authorization of the exchange to give participating health plans their certification, toll-free hotline maintenance, authority to decide whether or not an individual is eligible to participate in the exchange, and many other services designed to help people to buy their health insurance policies.