Uncertainty clouds federally run health exchange in Wyoming as lawmakers await information from federal authorities before rules are finalized.
"There are a lot of missing pieces out there," said state Rep. Elaine Harvey, R-Lovell. "And yet here we are n it is April and just before we are going to start enrolling people in October n and we still don't know what plans are out there, what prices they are, what features they will have and (what will be) mandated.
Advertisement"And my frustration is that this is two years of meeting with the federal government and getting no answers." Harvey is the co-chairwoman of the Legislature's Select Committee on Health Benefit Exchanges. Wyoming chose to let the federal government build the exchange, rather than set up a state run one.
Legislators passed a bill where a select committee would analyze the exchange set up by the federal government.
"We are looking at what can we do, given the federal law and regulations, to improve the function of the exchange that would be important enough to make us want to take it over," said Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, who is also a co-chairman of the committee. "And you can have the argument that if it's not broke, don't fix it and stay away."
Scott along with other lawmakers felt it take 2 years to make it fully functional which gave the state time to judge federal working and explore other options as needed. The committee could address the problems residents faced with the exchange.
The number of people using the exchange and how many more could use it. How the state would eventually pay for running the exchange.
The effect the exchange would have on the private insurance market. Senator Bill Landen is anxious about the impact the exchange would have on medical providers.
Sen. Bill Landen, R-Casper, also suggested that they need to look at how medical providers will be impacted. He said he worries that there will be too few providers to meet the needs in some communities.
Many of the lawmakers said they are still skeptical that the health insurance exchange will be beneficial or even functional, regardless of who runs it.
Anne Ladd, CEO of the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health - urged the committee to recognize potential benefits,
"We very much support the exchanges, and we think, if they are done right, they will be a big help to small employers," Ladd said. "I would just ask this group keep a constructive and positive attitude about these exchanges and what they can do."
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
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