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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - Indiana's federally run health insurance marketplace and potential impact of lawsuit by Pence/Zoeller

Some quotes from Dan Carden's Aug. 28th story in the NWI Times:

Hoosiers purchasing health insurance on Indiana's federally run marketplace next year will select from at least 975 plans offered by nine companies, up from four companies and 278 plans this year.

Tina Korty, attorney for the Indiana Department of Insurance, told a panel of state lawmakers Thursday that health insurance companies are eager to sell to Hoosiers after taking a "wait and see" approach in the marketplace's first year.

She said 2015 marketplace health insurance premiums will increase 5 percent on average.

That's a far cry from the annual double-digit premium increases Hoosiers paid before the Affordable Care Act was in effect. * * *

State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, questioned Korty as to whether Indiana should establish its own state-run health insurance marketplace and set longer open enrollment periods, rather than relying on the federal system.

Korty said the Pence administration has concluded the $40 million start-up cost for equipment and technology and the $40 million annual expense of running the marketplace and hiring people to make eligibility decisions isn't worth it.

State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, chairman of the Legislature's Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy, agreed.

"The exchange is a very high-tech, kind of high-risk endeavor, and until we have some assurance at the federal level that their tech part is OK, then that would put high-risk to us at the state," Brown said. "I think I'd like to go through another cycle to see how they do."

However, Tallian said she's concerned for the thousands of Hoosiers who no longer could afford their health plans if Gov. Mike Pence and Attorney General Greg Zoeller, both Republicans, succeed in their lawsuit seeking to deny federal premium assistance payments for plans purchased on Indiana's federally run marketplace.

Pence and Zoeller contend only insurance purchases made through state-run marketplaces are eligible for premium assistance.

Nearly 118,000 Hoosiers are receiving federal payments or tax credits to reduce their health insurance costs.

"I hope the General Assembly can stop this destructive silliness and establish an exchange in Indiana," Tallian said. "That will make Mr. Zoeller's lawsuit moot, and Indiana can get on with the business of getting people insured."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 3, 2014 11:35 AM
Posted to Indiana Government