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Affordable Care Act’s impact on state on House agenda

Updated: February 25, 2013 12:39PM



INDIANAPOLIS — New legislation would allow the state to regulate any changes caused by the Affordable Care Act, but House Democrats say Indiana should take full responsibility for setting up health care exchanges instead of leaving them to the federal government.

The House bill authored by Rep. Matthew Lehman, R-Berne, proposed that the state’s Department of Insurance would have regulatory responsibilities for any insurance companies offered through the future federal health care exchange.

“We’re simply adding the exchange to the same regulations,” Lehman told the committee, “just the same way that they regulate everyone else.”

The bill would also allow state programs like the Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association and the Healthy Indiana Plan to stay in place until replaced by options offered under the federal exchange.

Lehman noted that with changes required by the federal law, new service providers called health navigators and assisters should also fall under the same licensing as health insurance brokers.

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, asked the committee why they would rather leave control to the federal government when if the state implements its own exchange, state officials could determine how it works. Delay on forming the insurance exchanges would also make it more expensive if the General Assembly decided to make its own exchange later.

“Right now, we’re on the path to do very little for the state of Indiana,” DeLaney said, and offered an amendment that would “maximize our involvement.”

He added the state Legislature needs to consider expanding the Medicaid option for those who earn between 27 percent and 138 percent of the poverty level or they would be left without any help to purchase insurance.

Paul Chase, deputy director of Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, commended the bill, but wondered if allowing insurance brokers to serve as health navigators and assisters could serve as a conflict of interst.

“These navigators are supposed to be neutral to help customers find the best insurance plan for them,” Chase said, “But the standard broker works off of a commission, so there could be a conflict of interest.”

Lehman said the language could be adjusted once it goes to the House of Representatives for a vote.



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