States Worried About Lack of Time To Test Health Plan Exchanges
Leaders of the state-run health insurance exchanges in Connecticut and Washington state have expressed concern that there is not enough time to adequately prepare and test the exchanges before the enrollment opens on Oct. 1, Modern Healthcare reports.
Speaking at a panel discussion during the World Health Care Congress on Monday, Kevin Counihan -- CEO of the Connecticut Health Insurance exchange -- said that the state has just 10 months to establish a program that normally would take up to three years.
Counihan also expressed concern that other components of the exchanges, such as the federal data services hub and Navigator program, will not be ready on time or funded quickly enough to ensure timely completion.
Washington State's Exchange
Separately, Richard Onizuka - CEO of the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange -- said that while the state's exchange would be open for enrollment on Oct 1, it would still be a "work in progress."
He noted that key functions would be up and running, such as a program that calculates in real time whether applicants are eligible for Medicaid, but that other facets would still be under development. Onizuka said, "A lot of things we would like to be in it (initially) will be in later versions of the exchange"
Onizuka added that a challenge will be how to handle state residents whose Medicaid eligibility status changes. He said he hopes that insurers in the state will offer the same plans in the exchanges as they offer Medicaid beneficiaries, nearly all of whom currently are in managed care plans administered by private insurers (Block, Modern Healthcare, 4/8).
Last month, acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner laid out the timeline for how CMS will implement the federal exchanges and assured hospital executives that they will be ready in time for open enrollment (California Healthline, 3/6).
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also has offered assurances that all three types of exchanges -- state, federal and partnership -- would be prepared to begin enrollment in all 50 states on Oct. 1 (Kennedy, USA Today, 3/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.