State of the States: Health Insurance Exchange Developments

July 27, 2012

This week was relatively slow for exchange watchers as states continue to evaluate whether or not they will establish exchanges and/or expand Medicaid.

Of note this week, Idaho Governor Butch Otter appointed two working groups under the Idaho Health Care Council to evaluate questions related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The 26 public and private stakeholders will consider both the Medicaid expansion and the exchange – with Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong leading the Medicaid workgroup and Idaho Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal leading the exchange team. Recommendations are due to the Governor this fall.

In Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels indicated he would consult his potential successors before making a decision on an exchange, saying, “I don't consider it right for me or my administration to make such a decision that the next administration then has to implement. So I'm going to have to find some way to get input from the next governor." Governor Daniels’s second term as governor comes to a close this year.  Current candidates for the top spot in the Hoosier state include Republican Mike Pence, Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham.

While Nebraska is still undecided on the exchange front, with little exchange action in the state to date, the Department of Insurance this week did post an analysis by Mercer examining potential essential health benefits options.  For a state by state recap of the essential health benefits selection process, check out the chart on the statereforum blog.

Finally, on the private exchange front, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. announced this week that its benefit consulting division, Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. (GBS), is partnering with Liazon to offer the Bright Choices Exchange to customers. In his statement, GBS President James Durkin offered his thoughts on the private exchange opportunity, “There will be many different private exchange models and organizations will be interested in them for different reasons. Some organizations may be focused on simplifying a complex benefits administration process, while for others this may be a key piece in helping execute their Total Rewards strategy." Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm with operations in 17 countries.