The White House is working on their multistate health insurance plans through health care reform and the federal government will soon have the new role as sponsor of at least two different programs. The nationwide health insurance plans will be operated under contract with the federal government and will be available to Americans in each state throughout the nation.
The public option was a major part of the Affordable Care Act and is met with a lot of criticism. Supporters of the national plans believe they will increase competition through state markets, which will be a positive change as these markets are often times dominated by a few big health insurers. The national plans will directly compete with other private companies and will come with a federal seal of approval which will give many consumers comfort.
There is a lot that goes into the development of these national health insurance plans in each state. Premiums and benefits for the plans will be figured out by the United States Office of Personnel Management which is the same group that handles the health benefits for federal employees according to Robert Pear’s article on Health.HeraldTribune.com. The federal seal of approval will require a top quality plan that will compete with other plans in all areas.
The director of health care and insurance at the agency, John J. O’Brien, says the new plans will be offered to consumers and small employers through the health insurance exchanges which are currently being set up in many states under health care reform. It’s unclear how many people will sign up for these plans, but experts estimate the plans could be sold to about 750,000 people in just the first year.
Through the Affordable Care Act, at least one of the national plans must be offered by a nonprofit entity. Many believe this will be done through the Government Employees Health Association. It’s the second largest plan for federal employees after the Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance program. The association has quality programs and receives high scores for customer service as well.
The Obama administration will be working with states to outline the details of the plans. It’s not clear whether or not the national plans will have to comply with all state and consumer protection standards. They may have to comply with state benefit mandates, and state fees and taxes, but details have yet to be determined. There are so many intricacies involved in this development process, but it seems that the multistate plans are surely coming and will be offered to the public soon.
Written by Sam Tabes
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Tags: affordable care act, federal health insurance, health care access, health care reform, individual health insurance, public option health insurance