The federal Affordable Care Act requires all individuals to have health coverage in 2014. To make sure there is a transparent and trustworthy way to purchase coverage, CT passed legislation in 2011 to establish a user-friendly marketplace (health insurance exchange). The Exchange Board is charged with determining criteria to approve health plans that could be sold in that marketplace. The law (PA 11-53) was designed to make sure qualified people were appointed to the Exchange Board, consumer and small business interests were protected and that the Exchange was free of the undue influence of vested interests.
Unfortunately, CT’s Exchange has not met the spirit of the law.
For too long, decisions about our health care system have been made without the voice of consumers or small business. As the Exchange board makes important decisions, too much is at stake to delay a fix.
The proposed federal health exchange regulations state that: “Exchanges are intended to support consumers, including small businesses, and as such, the majority of the voting members of governing boards should be individuals who represent their interests.” That is not the case with the current Exchange Board.
We should immediately add two consumers and two small business representatives as voting members to the Exchange Board – and give the Healthcare Advocate a vote.
Consumers and small business have been asking for this change since August 2011. Governor Malloy has said it’s up to the legislature to put a law on his desk to sign. The Insurance Committee has reported out HB 5013, which is an important step in the right direction. We need to amend it to give consumers and small business more of a voice and send it to the Governor’s desk.
2012 is the year when crucial decisions about CT’s Exchange will be made in order to have it up and running by 2014. We need action NOW.