18 US states plan to start own health insurance marketplaces
The 18 U.S. states are planning to commence their own health insurance marketplaces, which will be available to consumers and businesses in 2014, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.
The states were given the deadline to inform the federal government if they would operate healthcare exchanges under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law by December 14.
The number of states taking part is in line with expectations and leaves the government to form their online market places for the rest of the country.
The exchanges are one of the key aspects of the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was enacted in 2010. They will create online marketplaces where individuals can buy health insurance from companies like UnitedHealth Group, Wellpoint Inc, Aetna Inc and Cigna Corp.
Kathleen Sebelius also said, "The marketplace will provide consumers and small businesses one-stop shopping for health insurance with better information about plan benefits, quality and cost - simplifying the process for buying health insurance."
Between the exchanges and expansion of Medicaid government healthcare for the poor, more than 30 million people are expected to become insured in the next decade.
The states that submitted applications for exchanges are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah. T
he government on Friday, conditionally approved the plans previously submitted by the District of Columbia, Kentucky and New York. It had previously backed plans from Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon and Washington.
The remaining 32 states have until February 15, 2013, to declare whether they want to set up a health exchange in partnership with the government.