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Gov. Haley’s Healthcare Advisory Group Seeks Extension

From The Post & Courier:

BY RENEE DUDLEY

rdudley@postandcourier.com

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A state committee tasked with determining how health insurance will be sold once federal health care reform takes full effect in 2014 is asking for a monthlong extension to make its recommendations to the governor.

Gary Thibault, director of the S.C. Health Planning Committee, asked for the group’s deadline to be moved to Nov. 30 so it could have “sufficient time to review the research, analysis and information before it and to develop its recommendations,” according to a letter he sent to Gov. Nikki Haley on Wednesday. The original deadline was Oct. 28. Continue reading

Insurance Exchanges Could Ease Burden On Small Biz

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Here’s hoping we in South Carolina get a shot at purchasing our health insurance through a competitive and transparent market!

By Misty Williams

Saturday, October 22, 2011

As co-owner of a small IT solutions company in Alpharetta, Julie Haley would rather be out networking and snapping up new business instead of spending hours looking for ways to curb her firm’s escalating health insurance costs.

“It really crippled us,” she said, adding that the exorbitant cost meant growing the business more slowly.

Like small businesses across Georgia and the nation, health care costs for Edge Solutions, which Haley started in 2008, have been jumping by double digits. Haley estimates in the first year alone, health care costs made up 25 percent of operating expenses – in part because without at least 10 employees insurers wouldn’t even bother talking with her. Instead, she paid pricey continuation coverage of workers’ prior plans to attract the experienced people she needed who were used to great benefits at larger companies.

Some relief could be on the way, however, with the creation of a small business insurance exchange in Georgia that experts say could reduce costs for employers and increase plan options for workers.

A committee of local health care experts, lawmakers and community leaders is exploring ways to develop an exchange — required starting in 2014 under the federal health care law — and will deliver final legislative recommendations to the governor by Dec. 15. The group is also looking at an exchange for individuals.

While opposing the health care overhaul, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed the committee earlier this year — saying it made sense to study Georgia-based solutions while the courts decide whether the law is unconstitutional. The federal government will step in to set up exchanges if states don’t. Continue reading

Feds Readying To Pick Up States’ Slack, Implement ACA

From The Washington Post:

By N.C. Aizenman, Published: September 10

Across the country, states are lagging in preparations to erect the health insurance market­places at the heart of the 2010 health-care overhaul, bogged down by a combination of partisan hostility and practical hurdles.

Faced with the delay, administration officials have been ramping up talks with state leaders in recent weeks over ways the federal government could pitch in without having to completely take over — speaking both informally and at a series of regional meetings underway.

The private discussions are evolving, with a range of federal-state partnership arrangements under consideration. But analysts on both sides of the health-care debate say one thing appears increasingly certain: The system of 50 completely state-operated insurance markets envisaged by the law is not what Americans will encounter when these “exchanges” open for business in 2014. Continue reading
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