States want to use health reform funds in 2015

Due to constantly changing technical requirements and demands from the Obama administration, states running their own exchanges want more time to spend their federal dollars, reports PoliticoPro.

Of the 15 state-run exchanges, 11 would like to use their funds in 2015 and four states have applied to do so, according to a Politico survey. The state exchanges also claim they need more time to spend the money because federal health officials released the rules and requirements for small buisness exchanges only within the last few months.

New York's marketplace is experiencing technical difficulties with a feature that allows customers to renew their health plan for 2015 automatically. The state plans to request a unding extension come October, Deputy Director Danielle Holahan told PoliticoPro. New York's exchange also is building tools the federal government was supposed to handle, such as calculating cost-sharing reductions for low-income individuals.

Rhode Island, Minnesota, Hawaii and Kentucky are among other states that applied to continue spending federal funds in 2015. Colorado has no plans on applying for an extension--the state signed up 119,000 people as of April 1, just shy of its 136,000 goal, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

The talk of extensions is leading healthcare reform law opponents to wonder if extending funds will lead to more states that join the federal exchange. For example, Oregon, whose exchange was plagued with technical problems that prohibited consumers from enrolling in one sitting, announced in April its plan to switch to the federal version.

"The Obama administration should stop propping up state-based exchanges that have failed to gain traction with consumers, and have wasted hundreds of millions on faulty technology," Josh Archambault, senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability in Massachusetts, told PoliticoPro.

What's more, smaller states with fewer enrollees are suffering the financial burden of having to cover tech bills. That raises concerns about how prepared they'll be for the next enrollment period beginning in November, suggests the article.

For more:
- here's the PoliticoPro article