With fee to use Healthcare.gov looming, states eye other options

Now that the federal government plans to charge some states a fee to use Healthcare.gov, officials in those states are trying to decide how they want to manage certain functions of their health insurance marketplaces and are considering collaborating with other states, the National Journal reports.

The proposed user fee for the federal enrollment site is part of the 2017 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Though the new rule is not yet finalized, states have begun to weigh their options. To that end, a group of state officials recently met in Portland, Oregon, to discuss ideas about how they can collaborate to save money and improve efficiency, according to the article. Some examples of potential shared functions include tech­no­lo­gies, call cen­ters and mar­ket­ing strategies.

Three states--Hawaii, Oregon and Nevada--had to switch to the Healthcare.gov platform when their state-based platforms encountered a host of technological issues. New Mexico is also considering a switch, the article notes.

That shift has led some Congress members to question oversight of the state exchanges, wondering why states are allowed to switch to Healthcare.gov after using federal funds to set up their own platforms. But CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt says the agency is working to recoup funds, adding it has not given any new money to fix IT problems for any state that ran into difficulties with its exchange, FierceHealthPayer has reported.

In light of the proposed fee, Oregon has requested proposals this month for software that is already successfully running at an existing state exchange, FierceHealthPayer has reported. "The out­come of our pro­cess will really in­form wheth­er or not the fed­er­al cost is really af­ford­able or reas­on­able giv­en what else is on the mar­ket­place," Berri Leslie, the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace administrator, told the National Journal. "So I think oth­er states are watch­ing Ore­gon's pro­cess pretty care­fully."

And Washington, which is satisfied with its state-based enrollment platform, is interested in opportunities to collaborate with other states to drive down costs, according to the article.

To learn more:
- read the article

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