January 31, 2011
Legislation proposed by the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen to create a state-based health insurance exchange is scheduled for hearing on Tuesday, February 1st, at 8:00AM, in the House Business and Labor Committee. HB124 is carried by Helena Representative Chuck Hunter.
An Exchange is an online marketplace for individuals and small businesses to easily compare rates, benefits, and quality among health plans and facilitate the purchase of qualified health plans. Health plans are placed in tiers based on out-of-pocket costs so that consumers can compare plans on an apples-to-apples basis. All plans sold in the Exchange are offered by private companies. It is not a government-run plan or public insurance option, nor is it funded with state money.
"Creating the Montana Health Insurance Exchange will make shopping for health insurance easier for Montana consumers and small business owners," said Commissioner Lindeen. "My staff and I have worked extensively with stakeholders from across the state to create a Montana solution."
Lindeen says that if HB 124 does not pass, the Exchange will be created by the federal government without Montanans' input.