Despite the controversy and vague fate of the Affordable Care Act, West Virginia will be continuing to adhere to one of the provisions of the federal law. State lawmakers have determined that a health insurance exchange would serve the needs of the state well and, earlier in the year, tasked state regulators with researching the steps necessary to make the initiative a reality. Regulators have issued a series of updates to lawmakers, bringing them up to speed on what must be done and where money is needed most. A great deal of emphasis is being put on public outreach to help consumers learn about how the exchange will help them.
Currently, the state is funding the exchange program through a variety of federal grants. The money, however, has not yet been used for marketing purposes, leaving consumers to their own devices in regards to the exchange. Regulators fear that consumers may not know enough about the exchange program and have determined that public outreach is a key element to the program’s success.
To this end, West Virginian lawmakers have applied to receive grants from the federal government to use in promoting knowledge of the exchange and health insurance in general. One of the key selling points of the program is the competition it will bring to the state’s insurance market, which is expected to reduce prices for health insurance by a significant amount.