Troubled state insurance exchanges face lawmakers' scrutiny

While the second year of open enrollment on state health insurance exchanges has gone smoothly, three state-run exchanges continue to face questions about their long-term viability.

Republican lawmakers in Colorado introduced a bill to repeal the 2010 law that created that state's health insurance exchange, effective Jan. 1, 2016. In the meantime, state senators are working on a measure to require a "more thorough audit" of the exchange, according to the Coloradoan.

The exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, recently needed an emergency infusion of $322,000 to fix technical glitches. Interim CEO Gary Drews also told state lawmakers that the exchange "is still very much a startup organization" and needs to improve customer service, the Coloradoan said.

Minnesota lawmakers, meanwhile, have undergone a bipartisan effort to reform MNsure, the StarTribune reported. The aim is to give the governor "a clearer line of authority" and the legislature more oversight into the insurance exchange's budget. MNsure would become a state-level department, but its structure and staff would not change.

Many state health insurance exchanges face financial uncertainty, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. As of Jan. 1, they were expected to be self-sufficient. Most assess fees to monthly premiums, but some still rely on temporary state or federal funding.

That's the case in Hawaii, where the state exchange is receiving $1.5 million in state funding this year, according to the Hawaii Reporter. A $204 million federal grant initially funded the Hawaii Health Connector, but a recent state report found that the site won't be financially viable until 2022. Exchange staff also spent 8,000 man-hours this summer fixing technical glitches, and additional work remains, the article said.

For more:
- here's the Coloradoan article
- read the Colorado bill (.pdf)
- here's the StarTribune article
- read the Hawaii Reporter story

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