Deadline this week for state to pick option under Obamacare
Gov. Tom Corbett will decide by Friday whether the state will set up its own online health insurance marketplace or leave the task to the federal government.
That's the deadline for letting the federal Department of Health and Human Services know the state's plans, said Rosanne Placey, spokeswoman for the state Insurance Department, which is leading the state's examination of the marketplaces, known as exchanges.
“A final decision hasn't been reached yet,” said Placey, who noted that she expects the administration to publicly announce its decision.
The exchanges are a key part of President Obama's health care reform that will expand insurance coverage to millions of Americans.
The online marketplaces are supposed to be open by Oct. 1 so that individuals and small businesses can buy insurance for 2014. Federal subsidies to help low-wage workers buy insurance will only be available through exchanges.
If Pennsylvania decides against setting up its own exchange, the federal government will take over. There is a third option, known as a partnership exchange in which the state would run some aspects and Washington would handle others.
If states go that route, they have until Feb. 15 to let Health and Human Services know which parts of a partnership exchange they will run.
Three Democratic state senators from Eastern Pennsylvania last week urged Corbett, a Republican who opposed the health care reform law, to set up a state-based exchange.
“We have an opportunity to work with the Obama administration to tailor an insurance exchange that fits the needs of people across Pennsylvania. We must not pass up this opportunity,” said state Sen. Shirley Kitchen, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.
Kitchen was joined by Sens. Mike Stack, Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, and Anthony Williams, Democratic whip, in calling for Corbett to act quickly.
Administration officials have said previously that they needed answers to a range of questions about exchanges before a decision could be made.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday released answers to 39 “Frequently Asked Questions” about exchanges and other aspects of the reform law.
Placey said officials are reviewing those answers.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Alex Nixon to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Energy sector adjusts to global oil plummet
- New York farmers lament lost opportunity for gas riches
- ‘Staff Pick’ is golden ticket on Kickstarter
- Drought opens Texas ranchers’ eyes to income options
- U.S. coal mines nearing record low in worker deaths
- As smokers seek Cuban cigars, retailers point to trade embargo
- 3 tips to use up health account funds
- Natural gas groups says increase in Pennsylvania taxes would bring dire results for economy
- Harmar developer sells 15 hotels in Western Pa., West Virginia
- 8 Western Pennsylvania hospitals penalized over infections
- Agriculture prospects envisioned in Cuba