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Indiana decides against forming health exchange

– Gov. Mitch Daniels sent notice Friday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that Indiana will not establish its own health care exchange.

He attached a letter from incoming Gov. Mike Pence, who reiterated his position Thursday against a state-run exchange.

Daniels said months ago he would defer the implementation decision to the next governor and legislature because his term ends in January.

“I do not believe the state of Indiana should establish a state-based health insurance exchange because doing so will cost taxpayers millions of dollars and it is not clear that Hoosiers would benefit from incurring the cost of implementing this new federal health care bureaucracy,” Pence said.

He added, “Without knowing more details on the cost and nature of state-based exchanges, it is possible that our state could be placed in the untenable position of serving as the administrator of a new federal health care bureaucracy over which we have little control.”

States originally had until Friday to declare whether they would operate a state exchange – a major portion of the federal health care act. If states decline, then federal officials will set up and run an exchange with no input from state officials.

Federal officials delayed the deadline late Thursday until Dec. 14.

But Pence had made clear his position, and Daniels communicated it Friday.

Health care exchanges are new entities being set up to create an organized and competitive market for buying health insurance.

They will offer a choice of guaranteed health plans with similar coverage for easy comparison shopping. They will largely serve individuals or small businesses buying insurance.

Indiana has taken some preparatory steps, but Daniels has not officially moved forward with a plan.

Preliminary estimates show the cost to operate an Indiana health care exchange could be between $50 million and $65 million a year. Federal aid could cut that cost.

According to an estimate from the Family and Social Services Administration, 638,000 Hoosiers are expected to enroll in the exchange.


Ohio rejects health insurance exchange
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio won’t set up its own health insurance exchange but is instead opting for a partnership with the federal government to run the new insurance market.
Republican Gov. John Kasich wrote in a Friday letter to the Obama administration that states lack flexibility to build and manage their own exchanges and that setting them up is too costly. He also said that regardless of who runs an exchange, the end product is the same.
Kasich’s administration has indicated for months that Ohio was leaning in this direction. State officials have noted their continued misgivings about the federal health care law, including what they say is a lack of information.
Kasich says Ohio will continue to regulate the health insurance market, oversee health plans, and make decisions around Medicaid eligibility.
– Associated Press

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