• WisBusiness

Gov. Doyle: Announces state will receive $1 million to begin work on health insurance exchange

Contact: Laura Smith, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

2 Million State Residents Could Purchase Affordable Health Insurance through the Exchange

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced the state is receiving a $1 million grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to begin work on an online health insurance exchange. The grant will help Wisconsin build on its national leadership in health care quality and access. The health care exchange, which could help 2 million residents purchase affordable health insurance in 2014, is one of Governor Doyle’s top priorities in national health care reform.

“We have made Wisconsin a national health care leader and today Wisconsin ranks first for health care quality, second in access to coverage and every child has access to health care,” Governor Doyle said. “Here in Wisconsin, we are working hard with our partners to move quickly on a health insurance exchange that will bring affordable health care coverage to millions of state residents. I want to thank President Obama and Congress for providing opportunities for Wisconsin to build on our great health care system through national health care reform.”

Governor Doyle, along with health care and insurance industry leaders, has begun work on the health insurance exchange design process. The exchange will consist of an online marketplace where Wisconsin small business owners and individuals can go to compare and purchase health care plans. It is estimated that as many as 2 million Wisconsin residents will obtain their coverage from the exchange.

The health insurance exchange will harness the buying power of small businesses and residents to provide an easy to use marketplace of affordable health coverage choices. The consumer-driven marketplace will serve as a one-stop shop with competition among insurance companies resulting in meaningful choices for consumers.

Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, Wisconsin has built one of the best systems of health care access through BadgerCare Plus, BadgerCare Plus Core, SeniorCare and FamilyCare. Wisconsin is now America’s health care leader, ranking first for health care quality, second in access to coverage, and providing health care access to every child. Governor Doyle has also positioned Wisconsin as a leader in e-health and quality initiatives. National health reform builds on Wisconsin’s health care successes and will bring $750-980 million in additional federal funding to the state, providing real relief to Wisconsin taxpayers.

Governor Doyle created the Office of Health Care Reform to be led by the Secretary of the Department of Health Services and the Commissioner of Insurance. Governor Doyle directed the Office to develop a plan that uses national health care reform to build on Wisconsin’s successful efforts and existing programs; directed that the Office ensure that Wisconsin’s residents and businesses realize the benefits of national health care reform; and directed the Office to pursue federal grants to assist in developing a health insurance exchange and implementing any other aspects of health care reform.

Under the Affordable Care Act, all states must either create their own state or regional health insurance purchasing exchange or join a federal exchange by January 1, 2014. By January 1, 2013, the state must have an adequate planning structure in place for its own exchange, or the state will be included in the national exchange.

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