PA Leaving Creation of Insurance Exchange to the Feds?

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Go read Tim Darragh on how far along PA is on creating a state health insurance exchange. The short version is, not far. Sarah Kliff talks to PA insurance commissioner Michael Consedine about what’s next:

You waited out the Supreme Court decision, hoping they’d overturn the law, then the election, hoping the law would get repealed, and, all of a sudden, the law is here to stay and you barely have any time to implement it.

You could slap together a health insurance exchange at warp speed, hiring all the consultants you can find in the next few weeks. This decision is risky: If the health insurance exchange malfunctions (and it might, given the time constraints), the blame lands squarely at your feet. It’s also time- and energy-consuming.

That’s the challenge thatPennsylvaniainsurance commissioner Mike Consedine worries about when he weighs the possibility of building an exchange.

“Our worst fear is rushing to build something for the sake of building it and having it not be functional,” he told me in an interview this week. “The whole idea is helping consumers make smart choices. And we’d actually be doing the exact opposite.”

That’s option one. Option two is leave the task to the federal government. They already promised that they’ll make sure every state has an insurance exchange standing by Jan. 1, 2014. They have a huge interest in making sure these exchanges work really, really well: This is, after all, the Obama administration’s signature legislative achievement.

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One Response to PA Leaving Creation of Insurance Exchange to the Feds?

  1. phillydem says:

    The feds already have exchanges in place FEHB (for current/retired employees) and Medicare. On both, you can already choose plans specific to your state or a national plan. For the fed govt, setting up a state exchange won’t entail much more than giving access to either of the above exchanges with state/regional specific insurers added. I’m willing to bet the insurers/healthcare entities find the federal gov’t much easier to deal with than a mish mash of state insurance commissions.