Arkansas lawmakers approve funding for health insurance exchange

New funding will allow state to continue managing exchange alongside federal government

Lawmakers in Arkansas have approved funding that will allow the state to continue operating its own health insurance exchange. The funds, some $10.6 million, were approved by the Arkansas Legislative Council during a heated voting session. Many legislators opposed the initiative, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act remains flawed and that the federal law could potentially damage the state’s insurance market. Others claimed that the funding was needed in order to ensure that Arkansas has some degree of control over its insurance exchange.

State remains a major player in its own exchange

Arkansas agreed to operate its health insurance exchange alongside the federal government. As such, the state has some control over how the exchange operates and whatArkansas Health Insurance policies are offered through the exchange itself. The approved funding will ensure that the state can continue to work alongside the federal government on matters concerning the exchange. The federal government will remain responsible for the provision of insurance navigators and the imposition of eligibility determinations for insurers interested in participating in the exchange.

Arkansas to continue managing various aspects of its exchange

Arkansas is responsible for managing the way health insurance plans are sold through the exchange. State regulators determine the criteria that health plans must adhere to as well as the monitoring of companies participating in the exchange. The state is also responsible for direct consumer outreach and education, meaning that all marketing associated with the exchange is handled by the state itself rather than the federal government.

State continues its consumer outreach initiatives

Including the recently approved funding, Arkansas has received more than $53 million for its health insurance exchange. These funds were primarily used to set up the exchange’s infrastructure, allowing the exchange to serve as an effective digital marketplace. Funds were also used to promote the various services provided by the exchange while also raising awareness among consumers concerning the availability of federal subsidies that can help offset the cost of health coverage.

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