Designing an Insurance Exchange that Works for NY

Posted April, 25 2011 by arianne

Last week was a busy one for advocates and policymakers thinking about Insurance Exchanges.  As mentioned in previous posts, New York is required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to establish an Insurance Exchange by 2014 (or participate instead in a federal Exchange).  31 states have already introduced legislation on the matter, and New York is positioning itself to potentially make a similar move before the session ends.

The Governor’s office held a stakeholder meeting last Thursday to gather feedback on several pressing issues, such as Exchange governance and structure.  HCFANY members were among the attendees invited, along with other consumer advocates, health plans, and other business interests.   Word is that there was an official note-taker present and that a summary or meeting minutes will be posted on the Governor’s web page soon.  Preliminary reports are that consumer advocates all seemed to agree on the following:

  • New York should have only one statewide exchange – not regional or multi-state exchanges.
  • The Exchange should function as an “active purchaser,” meaning, it should aggressively leverage it’s market share to negotiate the best value for consumers.
  • Plans on the Exchange should have high benefits standards. 
  • The individual and small-group markets should be merged, to spread risk more effectively and maximize bargaining power.
  • The Exchange will need strong consumer assistance to help people understand their options, enroll into plans, and fix problems.
  • The Exchange should fall under the purview of a public authority.

These points are all pretty on target with HCFANY’s own 5 Standards for the NYS Health Insurance Exchange.

The New York State Senate will be holding a public meeting on the topic this Wednesday in Albany, to further think about issues surrounding implementation of an Exchange here in New York, and the event is scheduled to be streamed live via the web.  Oral testimony is by invitation only, but – as always- written testimony is welcome.  So, have at it!

Click here to read HCFANY’s testimony.

Lastly, to follow up on our previous post regarding the Manhattan Institute’s Op-ed in the Albany Times Union, HCFANY’s response letter to the editor was published on Sunday.  Read it here.

Fellow HCFANY-ers American Cancer Society also submitted a letter to the editor, which was published today.  Read it here.

And the beat goes on…