THE FUTURE OF NEW YORK'S HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE
Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Health Senator Kemp Hannon
joined with health insurance experts to discuss the development and
implementation of the Health Insurance Exchange in New York State, mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA grants states flexibility in deciding which plans may be sold in the Exchange.
“A State Insurance Exchange will let individuals and small businesses understand their health insurance choices, look for the best price, and in some cases take advantage of subsidies,” said Jim Tallon, President of United Hospital Fund. “There are many tough design decisions, but a successful Exchange will benefit New Yorkers. Senators Hannon is taking a big step toward getting the key issues fully under discussion. I’m pleased to be part of their effort,” Tallon continued.
Concerns addressed during the roundtable included benefits and drawbacks of a State government sponsored Insurance Exchange versus a Federal government sponsored Insurance Exchange, how the Exchange will be financed, and rules and regulations regarding the Exchange. Panelists discussed in detail how health insurance receivers and health insurance providers in New York would be impacted by the type of Exchange solidified.
“For too long, New Yorkers have suffered with out-of-control insurance
prices and they are eager to use a State-run Insurance Exchange, which will
enable them to bulk purchase quality affordable coverage at wholesale
prices,” said Elisabeth R. Benjamin, VP of Health Initiatives of the Community Service Society of New York. “In order to preserve New York’s legacy of strong public programs and good consumer protections, the State must act urgently to establish a single state-wide Exchange that will allow eligible consumers to either enroll in free or low-cost coverage or pay for pooled coverage for small businesses and individuals: that way, everyone will get the best quality products for the right price.”
It is up to each state to determine how the Exchange will be governed and
where it will be housed, e.g., in a state agency, non-profit organization
or quasi-governmental entity. Initial legislative action in each state
regarding the structure of the Health Insurance Exchange chosen must take
place during the 2011 calendar year. This will consist of enabling
language which must be passed by the legislature. Per the Affordable Care
Act, the federal government will determine by January 1, 2013 if a state is
qualified to run a Health Insurance Exchange.