Arizona spent $9M on exchange decision

2013-05-11T00:00:00Z 2014-07-30T17:16:44Z Arizona spent $9M on exchange decisionStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Gov. Jan Brewer spent $9 million in federal money researching whether Arizona's health-insurance exchange should be run by the state or the federal government, her office confirmed Friday.

Following that research, Brewer decided that that the Arizona exchange will be operated by the federal government.

The exchange, which will begin open enrollment Oct. 1, is a marketplace where individuals and families who aren't getting health insurance through an employer may obtain it. Small businesses will also be able to buy insurance through the marketplace.

Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said the $9 million figure - made public by a Kaiser Health News analysis in April - is probably a little higher now as the state is still spending federal money on Arizona's requirements under a federal exchange.

Brewer's office initially predicted 496,000 people would enroll in coverage using the individual exchange, and another 510,000 people through small-business enrollment. But several large insurance companies have recently reported a downgrade in expected exchange enrollment, the Governor's Office said. Benson said the way the federal government designs the exchange will have an impact on actual enrollment.

The federal government is responsible for public education and outreach about how to enroll in the exchange, said Benson, and that marketing is expected to begin later this summer.

Additionally, each state regardless of exchange model will have at least two nonprofit group "navigators" to do impartial public education and outreach, Benson said. Grants to the navigators are expected to be awarded in August. Community health centers have also received federal money for outreach about the exchanges.

People will be able to enroll in the exchange via a website, a call center or regular mail.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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