Although health-care reform has become a political hot potato, 28 states and the District of Columbia currently are “on their way toward establishing their own Affordable Insurance Exchange,” according to a report released by the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
The exchanges, also called marketplaces, are a key component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often derisively referred to as Obamacare. The websites are intended to become an online destination where Americans who need coverage can comparison shop for regulated insurance plans.
The deadline to have these website up and running is January 2014.
But like many facets of health-care reform, the insurance exchanges have become a point of contention for some states. Twenty-eight states may be participating, but that doesn’t indicate where exactly they are in the process.
“States are in very different places, and it’s likely there will be some states that will be ready… but a lot of other states, even though they may be taking action, may not be moving quickly enough to have a fully operational exchange,” Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told ABC News.
Although the White House report emphasizes progress, compliance state to state ranges from total to nonexistent. A map at statehealthfacts.org, operated by the Kaiser Family Foundation, illustrates the disparity. Beyond the fourteen states with established exchanges, 22 are still “studying options” while six have done nothing and two – Louisiana and Arkansas – have opted out entirely.
But Republican-led states aren’t necessarily the holdout. The Chicago Tribune, citing a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote that “Fourteen states, including several led by Republican governors, have enacted legislation or have the authority in place to set up the regulated insurance markets that are a key segment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
An Obama administration official reportedly said Wednesday during a conference call that Americans living in states that haven’t put up an exchange by the deadline will still be given access to an exchange by that time.