Care needed in establishing state’s benefits exchange

'Marketplace solutions are essential to affordable health care coverage.'

Guest Column: Jim Borah
While the U.S. Supreme Court will not announce its decision about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act until June, the establishment of Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange moves ahead – as it should. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



OP-ED

Care needed in establishing state’s benefits exchange

'Marketplace solutions are essential to affordable health care coverage.'

Guest Column: Jim Borah
Posted 4/16/12

While the U.S. Supreme Court will not announce its decision about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act until June, the establishment of Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange moves ahead – as it should.

As a health-benefits adviser to hundreds of small-business clients across Rhode Island, I have been on the front lines of the health-insurance business for close to 20 years. My clients range in size from a small group of one to a few hundred employees, but they all want the same thing – to have insurance options that provide quality care at an affordable price – and finding products that suit their needs is my goal.

I support the establishment of the exchange and believe it could be a valuable tool for small- business owners and uninsured individuals to find the coverage they need. Unfortunately, it is easy for this opportunity to become a liability, so I want to share my thoughts about what the exchange should – and shouldn’t do.

• The exchange needs to be simple and focus its efforts on facilitating coverage for individuals and small businesses that do not currently have coverage.

• The exchange should be a complement to the current marketplace. Small businesses happy with their health insurance should be allowed to continue to purchase it as they do currently.

• The exchange should be limited to small employers as defined under the law (50-and-younger employees presently; increasing to 100 in 2017), as any expansion of the market would restrict the ability of large employers to positively impact their own rates through wellness programs and incentives.

• Finally, the existing regulatory authority – the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner – should remain in place for products sold inside and outside of the exchange; there is no need for duplicate regulation.

While the federal government has pledged nearly $60 million to help establish Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange, the exchange must be self-supporting after Jan. 1, 2015. The exchange in Massachusetts (The Connector Authority) is a $40 million entity, and I have concerns that an exchange of a similar scale here will be too expensive to survive, and will require a fee on insurance sold through the exchange or taxpayer dollars. Neither option is a good one.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Two Great Programs...One Great Event. PBN's Annual Celebration of Growth and Innovation is now underway. 2014 applications are now available. Deadline August 1st.
  • 40 Under Forty
    We're almost sold out. The 10th Anniversary of 40 Under Forty, and PBN is planni ...
  • Healthiest Employers
    Save the date - August 14th - at the Providence Marriott for the 3rd annual Heal ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement