State officials continue to press for action on $340,000 in federal money meant to help implement the health exchange in New Hampshire.
Speaking to the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee, Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny repeated the need for quick acceptance of the grant money. Last month, a different legislative body, the Joint Fiscal Committee, delayed the funds, citing concerns over a lack of information.
Sevigny says the money would help "put flesh on the bones" of his Department's effort to help consumers understand the new health law.
The new health exchanges are often described as something akin to Orbitz or Travelocity. A central place--a website--where insurance can be researched, compared, and purchased.
“Competition in markets, of course, is the way in this country we try to make reasonable prices and good quality available to people and so that is one of their roles,” says Professor Timothy Jost with Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
Jost says another key role of the exchanges is subsidies.
A report out today estimates that 96,000 New Hampshire residents will be eligible for health insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. The credits will be available starting in January, 2014, when the individual mandate kicks in.
With an October 1st deadline looming, the state continues to move forward with implementation of a partnership health exchange. In agreeing to that partnership, state Republicans say they were promised input on a planning document called a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU.
But last week, the Feds said partner states don’t have to submit an MOU. Republicans say that shuts them out of the legislative process.
The Federal government announced today that New Hampshire’s application for a partnership health care exchange has been approved. Exchanges are the new marketplaces where individuals and small businesses will shop for health insurance starting in October of this year.
The partnership means the N.H. Insurance Department will continue to regulate plans sold in the state. The Federal government will pay for and control the new marketplace website and the '1-800 call center'.
With a February 15th deadline looming, a group of lawmakers met today to discuss the direction of the state’s health insurance exchange. But the committee meeting produced more questions than answers.
The state needs to decide, and soon, if it will partner with the Federal government to run a new insurance exchange. For his part, Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny told a legislative oversight committee that he supports the partnership option.
The President’s health law wasn’t all that popular with New Hampshire House Republicans. Among other actions last session, they passed a law prohibiting the state from managing its own health insurance exchange.
And for now, the state is moving forward with a marketplace run by the Federal government.
Mississippi, a deeply red Southern state that is part of the Supreme Court case against the health law, is moving full speed ahead with one of the key provisions of that law: an online health insurance exchange.
Unlike Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and other conservative states in the South, Mississippi is well on its way to having an insurance exchange ready for operation by the 2014 deadline laid out by the health overhaul law.