Some push for a state health care exchange

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 7, 2014 1:28 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Open enrollment for health care plans through the federal marketplace closes at the end of this month, but many questions remain in Pennsylvania.


A recent hearing centered on whether the state should create its own exchange.

Connecticut has perhaps seen the most success signing up people through its own exchange, nearly doubling its goal of 33,000 with still weeks to go until the deadline.

But many other states, including Pennsylvania, are utilizing federal exchanges and find their numbers lagging behind.

Democratic Representative Matt Bradford of Montgomery County pushed state Insurance Commissioner Matt Consedine to answer why the commonwealth hasn't created its own exchange.

Consedine says there's more to consider than just a potential gain in sign ups this year.

"What are the long term costs that the state would ultimately have to be personally responsible for so the taxpayers would be responsible for? What's our ability to utilize commercial enterprises rather than expanding state bureaucracy?" Consedine responded.

"There are certainly some examples of ones that are working better than the federal exchange. Kentucky is often cited, Connecticut. But there are a lot more examples of states that continue to have very significant problems with their exchanges."

Consedine says the time is just not right to put together an exchange, which can take months and millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, Connecticut is starting a consulting firm to help other states set up exchanges because of its success.

WITF's Transforming Health project has a new interactive tool available to help navigate the Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania. It's called Getting Covered, and you can find it here.

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