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Health Care Reform Update on Exchanges

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December 12, 2012

Pennsylvania announces decision on exchange

Governor Tom Corbett announced recently that the Commonwealth will defer to a federally run exchange due to costs and other concerns.

Governor Tom Corbett released a press statement announcing that Pennsylvania will defer to a federally run health insurance exchange to meet a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. The text of his statement follows:

"For two years my administration has been engaged in careful planning around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, continually seeking guidance from the federal government. Throughout this time, we’ve asked HHS questions to help determine costs, impacts and flexibility in order to inform our decisions.

Until this week, less than five days before the deadline for a state-based exchange decision and blueprint, we received little acknowledgement of those questions. Even HHS Secretary Sebelius recently admitted on a call with governors that the regulations released a few weeks ago were not final and that more drafts are to be expected.

Health care reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning. Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars.

Therefore, I have decided not to pursue a state-based health insurance exchange at this time. It would be irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not been fully written.

However, we will continue to seek guidance from HHS on the costs, impacts and flexibility involved in the different options for Medicaid expansion.

We must work together on solutions that provide greater access to high quality and more affordable health care coverage for Pennsylvanians."

Pennsylvaniais one of 28 states that has declared it will allow the federal government to operate its exchange. By law, the decision to establish a state-based exchange can be re-evaluated by states each year.

"Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania has been working for many months to prepare for a health insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses in Pennsylvania," said Elena Kambitsi, Vice President of Product Development and Marketing. "Following the Governor’s announcement, we will continue to work toward being prepared for October 1, 2013 when open enrollment begins for the health insurance exchange in Pennsylvania."