HHS Publishes Guidance For Health Exchange State Partnership Model

Meanwhile, Arizona's efforts to create an exchange are morphing into a political hot potato. Also in the news, WellPoint has purchased its own private exchange to compete with the state-run versions envisioned in the health law.

Modern Healthcare: HHS Issues Further Guidance On Exchanges
HHS on Monday published additional guidance on the state partnership model for health insurance exchanges that the agency outlined in a proposed rule earlier this summer. The model is intended to give the states another option as they establish exchanges that are well-suited to their local market conditions and also help them transition into operating those health care insurance marketplaces (Zigmond, 9/19).

The Associated Press/Arizona Republic: Arizona Health Exchanges Urged By Groups
A state issue stemming from the federal health care overhaul continues to simmer, presenting lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer with a political hot potato. ... In the wake of industry efforts to create an Arizona exchange in a fashion to their liking, social service advocates are offering their own wish-list of features that they say would help consumers. Meanwhile, some conservatives are urging the state to refrain from creating an exchange, a step they argue could be seen as endorsing the overhaul (9/19).

Bloomberg: WellPoint Buys Exchange To Compete With Obama's Government Health Markets
WellPoint Inc. (WLP), the largest insurer by enrollment, is buying a private health-insurance exchange to compete for employers with the U.S. state-run marketplaces set to open in 2014 under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. WellPoint and two nonprofit health insurers purchased a 78 percent stake today in Bloom Health, a closely held benefits company in Minneapolis, for an undisclosed sum, WellPoint said. Bloom is a two-year-old online marketplace that offers a menu of health plans to about 20,000 workers at almost 50 companies (Wechsler, 9/20).

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