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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fed contractor: Too late for Florida on a state-run insurance exchange



ORLANDO – Florida lawmakers have said they will decide this upcoming session whether the state or the federal government should run private insurance exchanges for people who struggle to get group insurance.

But that debate could already be over, according to a panel expert at the Health Care Affordability Summit sponsored by the Foundation of Associated Industries of Florida.

Holli Ploog is the vice president of CGI Government Markets, a contractor hired by the federal government to build the online market exchanges, which the new federal health care law requires each state to have in place by next year.

Asked how state lawmakers should proceed, she said Florida has likely run out of time to build its own system.

“I don’t know that you have that choice,” she said.

A year ago, she said, she would have recommended the state create and run its own program so that it could maintain control. But the state has made no progress toward doing that, and lawmakers don’t meet until March.

Under the federal law, the exchanges would need to be ready to enroll people by October.

Ploog noted that the law also allows a state and federal partnership to run the exchanges. That's a strong possibility, one that's been mentioned by a number of legislators, including state Sen. president Don Gaetz.

As of this month, 19 states have declared they will run their exchanges, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. Florida is among those states listed as defaulting to a federal-run exchange.

--Jodie Tillman, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 2:40pm]


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