Ohio Declines To Operate An Insurance Exchange, But May Change Its Mind

Governor John Kasich has informed the federal government that Ohio will not operate its own health insurance exchange at the present time but could change its decision if more details about funding and operations become avilable.

Exchanges are being created by the Accountable Care Act (ACA) to serve as marketplaces where people can buy insurance if their employers don't offer coverage. Under the ACA, states are given the option of operating their own exchanges, developing a hybrid approach or opting for a federally run exchange.  

Some Governors have been concerned about entering into a venture where some details have not been disclosed, particularly in regard to ongoing funding. Others were delaying a decision about how to operate the exchange, until the presidential election was decided.  Bowing to pressure from Republican Governors, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius extended the deadline, Nov. 16, so, states will have another three months to decide whether they will share the responsibility or relinquest authority entirely to the federal government. 

Governor Kasich wrote in his letter to CMS that the Ohio "reserves the right to amend its intentions as stated in this letter should the Department of Health and Human Services announce any changes or present states with new information, rules or interpretations of the law."

Ohio Consumers for Health Care Coverage responded to Governor Kasich's decision by saying: "There is bi-partisan support across the range of stakeholders for the state to operate the Exchange so this decision may and can evolve over time. And, we need a public process to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages, and the opportunities and challenges of each option. We are willing to work with the Administration and other stakeholders on creating a state-based Exchange that works for consumers and small businesses."

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio recently  released an Update on Ohio’s Options for Health Insurance Exchanges. The paper is a follow-up to the policy brief HPIO released in May titled Final Rules and Key Stakeholder Considerations Regarding Exchange Establishment and Functions. In September 2011, HPIO published Federal Rules for Establishing Health Insurance Exchanges. To read the reports go to http://bit.ly/TcIerc

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