Arkansas, Michigan Advance Payment Plans For Health Exchanges

Today's headlines include reports that Arkansas will use federal funds to pay for its state-based health exchange while action in Michigan suggests momentum might be building to pursue a partnership exchange that will be run by the federal government.

Politico: Arkansas To Use Federal Funds For Exchange
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe's office says the state has received approval from Health and Human Services to take federal Medicaid expansion money and use it to buy private coverage for low-income residents through the state's insurance exchange (Cheney and Millman, 2/28).

The Associated Press: Mich. Panel OKs $31M For Health Care Exchange
A Michigan legislative panel on Wednesday voted to spend the $31 million in federal grant money allocated for the creation of the state's online health insurance marketplace, a key component of the federal health care overhaul. The 24-3 vote by the House Appropriations Committee signals the Republican-led Legislature may be ready to back GOP Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to pursue a partnership controlled almost entirely by the federal government (Eggert, 2/27).

Meanwhile, in Georgia -

Georgia Health News: Health Exchanges: Will Some Be Left Out?
The state health insurance exchanges coming in January 2014 are expected to offer a good deal for many consumers — better coverage at a better price. That debut of exchanges, part of the Affordable Care Act, provides the rationale behind a House bill that would eliminate temporary "conversion" policies for people who have lost group health insurance coverage. The legislation would also end the current "assignment" policies that cover an estimated 2,000 Georgians with medical conditions. States can create their individual exchanges, but Georgia has opted to let the federal government create the one here. House Bill 389's supporters say the exchanges — which will prohibit insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions — will provide improved benefits at a price that's lower than conversion and assignment policies (Miller, 2/27).

In other exchange news -

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Tenet Shows Hospitals Will Cut Prices For Exchange Patients
How much will hospitals reduce prices in an effort to win what are expected to be millions of newly insured patients under the Affordable Care Act? A little, not a lot, if deals disclosed this week by Tenet Healthcare are any indication (Hancock, 2/28).

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