State Health Insurance Exchanges Can Survive Government Shutdown

U.S. State Department officials responsible for the launch of the Affordable Care Act's new state-based insurance exchanges say they have access to funds in case of a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Even in a U.S. government shutdown, Obamacare exchanges could function (Reuters)

  • Independent experts believe the effects of a government shutdown on the implementation of the new health care law could be very minimal.
  • It is still unclear whether the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can operate a federal data "hub" that supports the state-run online exchanges. The "hub" collects personal information to determine whether someone would be eligible for federal subsidies for health insurance.

Meanwhile, insurers in many states are driving down the cost of health insurance by offering a restricted number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans.

Lower Health Insurance Premiums to Come at Cost of Fewer Choices (NY Times)

  • Insurers said they have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals than are typically found in commercial insurance. Those health care providers will most likely be paid less than what they have been receiving from commercial insurers.
  • A new study from consulting company Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that insurers passed over major medical centers when selecting providers to keep costs low.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act, federal officials have said that consumers in many states will be able to buy health insurance for less than $300 a month – with federal subsidies, it could cost less than $100 a month per person.
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