Lifestyle & Belief

Only 15 states plan to run their own health exchanges


Employers say they plan to shift more of the costs of insurance onto their employees by raising co-pays, deductibles and premiums. Nearly 10% of businesses say they plan to stop offering health insurance because of fears over rising costs. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Only fifteen states say they plan to run their own health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law. 

States have until Friday to tell the federal government if they plan to run their own exchange where residents can compare and shop for private insurance plans or want Washington to run it for them. 

Eleven other states have told the government that it should plan on being heavily involved in setting up the private health insurance markets, Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, told Reuters on Thursday. 

A handful of other states may decide to run their own exchanges before the deadline but that still leaves Washington with the monumental task of setting up private health exchanges for about 30 states. 

Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett said his state will not be setting up their own exchange and will let Washington do it for them. Corbett told the Associated Press that setting up a state-based exchange would be "irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not been fully written.’’

‘‘Health care reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning,’’ Corbett said. ‘‘Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision-making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars.’’

Georgetown professor Sabrina Corlette told Marketplace that it's in a state's interest to run its own exchange.

“A state that’s going to run its own exchange has an opportunity to really change the entire health care landscape if it wants to do that,” she says.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare" is expected to extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans after it comes fully into force on January 1, 2014.