Alabama Legislature blocks health insurance exchange bill

Alabama Health Insurance

Alabama Health InsuranceLegislative roadblocks keep exchange from moving forward

As time goes by, more states are working to develop their mandatory health insurance exchanges. These insurance marketplaces are required by the Affordable Care Act, and each state must have a fully functioning, self sustaining exchange in place by 2014. Though the fate of the Affordable Care Act is currently pending a ruling from the Supreme Court, states have been working to comply with the law in order to avoid intervention from the federal government. In order for states to move forward with the development of their health insurance exchanges, lawmaker must pass legislation that makes the programs possible. In Alabama, legislation has hit a roadblock.

Legislators choose to delay exchange due to economic and logistic concerns

This week, the state’s Senate blocked legislation that would help create a health insurance exchange. Last month, this bill was passed by the House with a vote of 92-0, showing that some lawmakers support the concept of an exchange. The Senate expressed concerns regarding the exchange and its effects on the state’s economy and health insurance industry. Supporters of the bill agreed to delay action in order for these concerns to be addressed, though they claim that delays could jeopardize the state’s ability to meet with the deadlines imposed by the federal government.

Exchange legislation marred with fundamental problems

Some legislators are questioning the reasoning behind creating an insurance exchange given the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act. Others have highlighted problems with the legislation that would establish an exchange. According to the bill, all insurance companies participating in the exchange program must operate in every county of the state. Currently, only Blue Cross Blue Shield meets this requirement, which could make the insurance exchange program limited in terms of diversity.

State lawmakers still have time to determine the fate of the state’s exchange efforts

Legislation concerning a health insurance exchange may come up in the future. There are three meeting days remaining in the 2012 legislative session wherein the subject can receive adequate attention. For the time being, lawmakers will be focusing their efforts on other issues.

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