As a follow-up to a report released in early June, eight Nebraska advocacy organizations representing consumer interests put forward a set of principles concerning governance and oversight within a Nebraska health insurance exchange. These principles are designed to help guide the conversation that will take place among legislators and state officials in the coming months.The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that each state have a health insurance exchange up and running by January 1, 2014. While the federal government will establish initial guidance on the creation of the exchange, states have a significant amount of flexibility to determine how the exchanges should be governed, what benefits will be included, and how consumers will interact with insurers and their products.
The principles outlined in the report released this week recommend that the exchange be structured and administered in a manner that is in the best interests of the consumer. The primary purpose of the exchange is to ensure that all Nebraskans, but particularly those who are low-income, uninsured or underinsured have meaningful access to health coverage. The people selected to oversee the exchange and the authority they will be given are two of the most important decisions that will be made by the Legislature this session. These principles illustrate how Nebraska can ensure a consumer friendly, stable, market place for all Nebraskans to obtain quality affordable health coverage.
The principles outlined in the document focus on the following:
- Ensuring that the exchange governing entity is sufficiently independent to carry out its functions in an effective manner.
- Encouraging diverse representation among the exchange governing entity.
- Requiring that those that will oversee the exchange possess necessary expertise relevant to exchange functions.
- Avoiding conflicts of interest among those that will oversee the exchange.
The groups releasing the report include:
- BOLD Nebraska
- Center for Rural Affairs
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Nebraska Chapter
- National Association of Social Workers, Nebraska Chapter
- Nebraska Appleseed
- Nebraska Farmers Union
- Public Health Association of Nebraska
The statement of principles is available here.