The news that the federal government is extending the deadline for the creation of health insurance exchanges has been mostly met by shrugs from the States involved today. The desire or drive to set up an exchange appears absent in many States and the extension of the deadline has done little to drive them into action.
The exchanges have become quite a divisive issue since President Obama’s re-election. If you are reading this post and shaking your head, there are probably just as many people nodding along. The ultimate result of this debate and the ultimate implementation of health insurance exchanges, whether by state or federal government, will have a huge effect on insurance agents. So let’s take a look at the reasons most states have delayed deciding on, or chosen not to implement, health insurance exchanges.
They Want More Control
The most consistent message coming from Governors in states that haven’t implemented an exchange is that they want to create their own exchange. The suggestion is that there are too many federal regulations already in place to allow a state to really customize their exchange. Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska summed up this feeling on Thursday when announcing that his state would not create an exchange. He said the decisions would be “totally dictated and totally controlled by the federal government.”
They Want to Leave it to the Government
Leading on from that, other states have voiced a desire to leave the government to create their own exchanges. They feel that there are too many issues and too much investment required for states to create their own exchanges. There’s also been a suggestion from some states that they simply don’t believe the exchanges will be a success and they don’t want to get the blame for problems that arise.
They Want Clarity
One word stands out in almost all of the statements relating to health insurance exchanges. Over and over, governors and representatives have spoken of the ‘unknowns’. Many states have cited the lack of clarity on a lot of the regulations. They feel they can’t take control of a process that is still unclear.
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Health insurance exchanges create an interesting challenge for insurance agents and an extra facet to the health care market for insurance buyers. The problem at the moment is the total lack of clarity on who will provide these exchanges, how, and when. Until that clarity is forthcoming, the health insurance industry remains in limbo.
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