The federal government will be
running new health insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges, in at
least 26 states, says an article by
Kaiser Health News. These states include the major population centers of
Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
The Obama administration has given
"conditional approval" to 17 states and the District of Columbia to
run their own marketplaces. About 12 million people are expected to buy
coverage through the Internet sites next year, with the number increasing to 29
million by 2021, according to consulting firm PriceWaterHouseCoopers.
For consumers, it should make little
difference whether the new Internet sites are run from state capitals or
Washington, DC. But federal regulators hoped states would shoulder some of the
work and that stakeholder groups such as hospitals and insurers wanted states
to help, too. The exchanges become effective October 1.
Governors from Arkansas,
Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and West Virginia have
sought approval for the third option— a partnership with the federal
government. Three of those states—Arkansas, Delaware, and Illinois—have
received conditional approval, says the article.
In a partnership, states would
approve which plans can participate on the marketplace and handle consumer
assistance duties, such as setting up call centers to handle inquiries. The
federal government would handle the more complex duties of running the website,
marketing the site, and determining the eligibility of millions
of people for government subsidies that will make prices more affordable.