Gov. Haley’s Healthcare Advisory Group Seeks Extension

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From The Post & Courier:

BY RENEE DUDLEY

[email protected]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A state committee tasked with determining how health insurance will be sold once federal health care reform takes full effect in 2014 is asking for a monthlong extension to make its recommendations to the governor.

Gary Thibault, director of the S.C. Health Planning Committee, asked for the group’s deadline to be moved to Nov. 30 so it could have “sufficient time to review the research, analysis and information before it and to develop its recommendations,” according to a letter he sent to Gov. Nikki Haley on Wednesday. The original deadline was Oct. 28.

The 12-member planning group “has made significant progress toward developing recommendations that will improve the availability and affordability of health care and health insurance in our state,” Thibault wrote in the letter.

The committee must recommend who — the state or the federal government — should manage the online marketplace where uninsured residents will buy coverage beginning in 2014.

If the state has not established its own exchange by the end of next year, the federal government will implement its own, according to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. All exchanges must be able to operate without federal assistance by 2015.

The committee has spent about $82,000 of a $1 million federal grant the state received to establish the exchange.


Exchange

–An exchange is a marketplace — a website and hotline — where uninsured residents and small businesses will compare health policy benefits and prices when federal health care reform takes full effect in 2014. The exchange may be administered by and independent nonprofit group or as part of a state agency.

–Designed to have strict standards to ensure adequate benefits and low premiums, exchanges are supposed to promote competition by making it easy to compare insurance policies from different carriers.

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