Federal Government Approves Health Exchanges For Six States, Including Connecticut

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Connecticut is one six states approved by the federal government to operate an online exchange where individuals and small businesses can buy health coverage starting Oct. 1, 2013.

Administrators for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the approval Monday afternoon. Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon and Washington also received conditional approval.

A health exchange is a critical part of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010. It changes the way health insurance is sold by centralizing the sale of health plans into a public online marketplace for each state. People will still be able to buy health coverage outside of the public exchange through other channels. States that don’t have an exchange up and running in time for the Oct. 1 enrollment period, when people buy coverage for 2014, may use a site offered by the federal government.

For many Americans, who have health insurance through an employer or a union or some other group, the process of getting health insurance won’t change. The health exchange is for individuals and small groups, and it is intended as a way to homogenize the shopping experience by giving plans coverage ratings that anyone can understand. The exchange also is intended to drive competition between health plans.

“Ten months from now, Americans in every state will begin signing up for affordable, quality health insurance in new state marketplaces,” Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told reporters during a conference call Monday.

So far, 14 states and Washington D.C. have declared that they want to operate state-based health exchanges, including the six that were approved. The states approved Monday were earlier than other states in submitting their applications.

“This is not a reflection on whether any other state will be approved, or any other state’s progress toward having an exchange,” said Gary Cohen, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “It’s purely a matter of who came in first and who we got to first.”

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, Connecticut has received $116 million in federal funds to design and build its health exchange.

“While other states waited for events such as the [U.S.] Supreme Court ruling or the election to spur action, Connecticut did the right thing and aggressively pushed forward with launching a state based Exchange for its residents,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a prepared statement. “To do anything less would have been a disservice to those in our state who don’t have insurance, or struggle to afford the coverage they have.”

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman chairs the exchange board of directors.

“This approval shows that we are continuing to make rapid, concrete progress in bringing about much needed improvements for consumers in our state’s health insurance market,” Wyman said. “While the majority of states are still grappling with how to move forward with health reform, all Connecticut residents should be encouraged by the progress we have made on this hugely important issue.”

The exchange still has yet to receive health plans to offer for sale. It will also function to tell people if they qualify for Medicaid, Medicare or a federal subsidy that applies to people up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $44,680 for an individual and $92,200 for a family of four.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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10 thoughts on “Federal Government Approves Health Exchanges For Six States, Including Connecticut

  1. pete

    this is where the real separation will begin between states run for the low life social trash and the worker bees who pay ALL THE TAXES that support the social trash. 30 count them 30 states have told Barrack to get lost with his obamacare and to have him run the exchanges, but not DANNY BOY who just loves kissing barracks back side looking for that federal judgeship. DANNY BOY can’t wait to get out of dodge

    1. Vern

      I don’t think Malloy is counting on a judgeship. He would never be confirmed. I think he is salivating over Ray LaHood’s job as Transporation Secretary. He is bizarrely going to use the busway debacle as his ticket to being a tranporation maven.

  2. Dr. Aki Bola, Esq.

    “Connecticut has received $116 million in federal funds to design and build its health exchange.” $116M for something a private enterprise would do for $1M tops. This is idiotic.

  3. baborn3

    …“Ten months from now, Americans in every state will begin signing up for affordable, quality health insurance in new state marketplaces,” Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told reporters during a conference call Monday.”

    That’s as big of a lie as 0bamacare itself, Marilyn!

    [Pete, above] is correct … so far 30 states have said “No” to setting-up these so called “exchanges”.

  4. Fed up with elected officials

    The state and federal government are 100% incapable of running or doing ANYTHING successful.

    Case in point, US Postal service is losing 8 billion a year.

    Our elected officials stole our Medicare money and destroyed that.

    Our elected officials stole our social security money and destroyed that.

    Welfare is amused to the point of being a joke.

    Malloy raised 77 taxes in the summer of 2011, cut nothing, and now we are n the hole millions…again.

    So tell me, how is it that an incapable government is going to run health care? Because I am all ears…

    1. Daisy14

      So lets get the government out of education – its the biggest failed government program in the history of the country. As far a health care goes – I’m a vet and have the best health care in the country – I don’t get it for free – but I’m portable. I can go to any state in the country and if I need health care I can go to any VA facility and they swipe my card and my entire medical record is in front of my physician in seconds. Some things they do right some things they do wrong – get them out of education – its just an employment machine for something that can be provided with a computer that does not need a salary, health benefits or a pension.

  5. America Is Dying

    FED UP WITH GREED IS MORE LIKE IT! ONLY IN AMERICA NO HEALTH CARE FOR ITS CITIZENS! BUT PLENTY FOR WARS AND PRO SPORTS!

  6. R Lee

    Great!Now we have a Health Care Exchange- is that going to make care any less expensive? Who’s paying all these people who are going to make it cheaper?
    When treatment is too expensive who’s going to pay for that?
    The Feds are going to run our care-Yes.
    Better- NO.
    More paper pushers- YES!!!!

  7. Mike Robinson

    Before Obamacare – buy a policy from an insurance company. Obamacare – buy a policy from an insurance company. For many the same policy and company. Should be a fairly easy transition. The exchanges are a small part of the plan. Not that hard to establish a marketplace. Connecticut already had virtually all of the pieces in place. Last year I went on a CT website and compared policies and bought one. We already have reasonably priced Charter Oak and a plan for people with preexisting conditions. Now we have stronger partnership with the federal government. We trust the government-run veterans hospitals to care for our servicemen. Government-run Medicare works fairly well for most seniors. If you doubt that, try and take it away from them.

  8. Daisy12

    Why don’t we have a public option – say buying into medicaid on a sliding scale according to income and using a clinic where doctors are paid a salary instead of having to rely on insurance company payments? We need to get completely away from employer funded health insurance and everyone has to buy buy their own insurance – just like car insurance. How is it a free market system when taxing authorities are forced to pay for health insurance for employees (i.e. teachers) from a private company because of union contracts?

Comments are closed.