The plans that will be offered on the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, including premium prices, should be released on Monday, Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford testified today before the Joint Public Health committee.
The plans will be offered by four private insurance companies: Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield, QualChoice, and Centene. Insurance Department officials had originally hoped to release the plans earlier this month. They are awaiting federal approval.
As House Public Health Chair John Burris noted, the delay is “not that big of a deal” as long as the plans are in place by October 1, when enrollment begins. But in terms of political optics, it gives a bit of ammo to Obamacare opponents. Burris suggested that without the plans, the Insurance Department would have trouble getting approval tomorrow for $4 million in funds dedicated to outreach in order to educate people about the new marketplace and encourage them to sign up. The funds have been appropriated but are set for review tomorrow before the Legislative Council.
Bradford said there were no plans to delay the review, so we’ll what happens tomorrow. Americans for Prosperity and other anti-Obamacare groups have been putting the pressure on to block the funding, and some legislators have already taken to social media promising to do just that.
p.s. While we wait for the plans, don’t miss our primer on what to look for and expect.