Credit: Secom Bahia / Flickr Creative Commons

Obamacare Deadline Extended

November 16, 2012

Today's deadline for states to declare their participation in the Affordable Care Act has been extended another month.

President Barack Obama's re-election has all but guaranteed the survival of his health care law. Suffolk University Law Professor Renee Landers says that under Obamacare, different premium rates can be charged in different states, depending on how they set up exchanges. A health insurance exchange is a set of state-regulated and standardized health care plans.

“So right now the threshold question is what kind of exchange the state is going to decide is the right one for its citizens. Whether the exchange is going to be what’s called an active purchaser, which is what we have in Massachusetts where not every insurance product can be listed and sold on the exchange, the connector authority does a fair amount of screening. The detailed determinations about how the exchanges actually operate in the end will be the ones that the public should really pay attention to,” Landers says.

Landers says Massachusetts is seen as a leader or a cautionary tale, depending on which lawmakers you talk to. It’s still unclear what the national law will do to employer costs in the state.

But already Republican-led New Mexico and Mississippi are going ahead with new state insurance markets under the law. Iowa and Ohio are considering partnerships with Washington.

“Sixteen or so other states have already made substantial progress to creating exchanges. The state of Utah for example has an exchange for quite awhile. It operates quite a bit differently in many respects than the Massachusetts exchange,” Landers says.

The Obama administration says it expects some 30 million uninsured people will gain coverage through the law in the next year.

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