Beshear says he will create state health insurance exchange if federal health reform law is upheld

Gov. Steve Beshear said today that he will wait on creating a health insurance exchange under federal health reform until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the reform law, which is expected to happen in late June. He said in a press release, “The steps we have taken to date, and the planning process we are putting in place helps ensure the state is able and ready to follow the law.”

The exchange, a requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,
would be a market for individual health-insurance policies. It would help small employers insure their employees in health plans and “enable individuals to receive
premium tax credits and premium subsidies, and qualify small businesses for tax credits,” the release said.

“The state has a $57.8 million federal grant to plan and implement of programs and systems required by the law, including “building an end-to-end eligibility
and enrollment system to serve both Medicaid and exchange participants,” the release said. “Kentucky previously received two federal health insurance
exchange planning grants totaling $8.6 million.” (Read more)

With time running short, why wait to issue an order? The court’s decision “may impact the nature of the executive action,” said Jill Midkiff, spokeswoman for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “The timing of issuance of the executive order will not impact the current work or future work that is being completed to establish a state exchange. There is nothing that we need to accomplish at this point that requires an executive order to be in place.”

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