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31 State Exchanges Won’t Give Employees Choice

From the Politico:

Exchanges, but not as envisioned

By JASON MILLMAN | April 8, 2013

… Even though the Obama administration is delaying a key component of federally run small-business exchanges, some states building their own exchanges say they’re on track to have the program running next year.

The feds last month said the 33 exchanges it will run next year won’t allow employees whose companies use the exchanges to choose their own health plans until 2015. Instead, they’ll have to accept whatever plan their employer selects for them.

Remember how Obama promised us that we would get to keep our health insurance plans if we liked them? Lies. All lies.

The new Small Business Health Option Program exchanges, known as SHOP exchanges, are hoping to draw in firms by offering greater health plan choices for employers and their workers, and the so-called employee choice model was seen as a major incentive for businesses to seek coverage on the SHOP exchanges.

But more than half the country won’t have that option right away…

That is, the "employee choice model" won’t offer any choices. What a surprise.

And, you can bet, if they don’t have any choice now, they won’t be getting any more choices in the future.

Employee choice generally works like this: Workers whose employers decide to purchase coverage through the SHOP exchange get a defined contribution from the firm, and they then put the money toward an exchange health plan of their choosing. Without employee choice, the employer chooses the health plan for its workers, much like how the employer-sponsored insurance system works now.

Rocky King, executive director of Oregon’s exchange, said employee choice was key for generating bipartisan support for a state-run exchange two years ago.

“It became really clear to us in order to get the bipartisan support we needed that we need to put forth something more than what was just out there today for small employers,” King said.

But it’s law now. So they can stop pretending.

But King also knew it wouldn’t be easy from an operational standpoint, so he said the exchange staff got to work right away on the technical infrastructure necessary to support employee choice. Under the program, the exchange takes the employer contribution directly and then sends it to the carrier the employee selected.

“We knew that was the most challenging and most difficult to implement,” King said.

What is so difficult about it? The ‘challenges’ are never laid out.

The Obama administration announced a month ago that it would delay the employee choice option in federal-run exchanges, but recent news reports about the decision have sent state-based exchanges into damage control.

April Todd-Malmlov, executive director of the Minnesota exchange, said her office was bombarded with questions after reports of the federal delay grew.

“They really want this and wanted to make sure we were really doing it,” said Todd-Malmlov, adding that the Minnesota exchange, known as MNsure, has emphasized building the SHOP exchange…

Colorado is another state last week that reiterated plans to install employee choice right away, despite the federal delay.

“Colorado is on track to help small employers provide a range of health plan options to employees through our new online health insurance marketplace that will open in October,”Patty Fontneau, executive director of the Colorado exchange, said in a statement on Thursday.

In other words, this Politico article is supposed to assuage our fears, because two of those 33 state exchanges, Minnesota and Colorado, say they are going to try to provide ’employee choice’ anyway, despite the federal government’s delay.

And never mind those other 31 state exchanges, where employees won’t have any choice.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “31 State Exchanges Won’t Give Employees Choice”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Good Night and Good Luck

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