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Stateside: Health insurance exchanges a key part of Affordable Care Act

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Michigan Health Insurance Program is offering more options to people with pre-existing conditions.

Health insurance exchanges, a crucial part of the federal Affordable Care Act, will have a great impact on Michigan residents.

To better explain the exchanges, we spoke with Helen Levy. A research associate professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

Levy is well-versed in the fine points of the Affordable Care Act.

“A Health insurance exchange is a marketplace designed to bring together people who want to buy insurance and companies that want to sell it to them,” said Levy.

The sites on which the plans will be featured will follow the templates of other marketplace sites.

“It’s going to look something like Travelocity but for health insurance. You can scroll through the policies and see what the different premiums are. The exchanges are intended to include community rating. It’s a key part of making affordable insurance available to everyone,” said Levy.

Michigan Public Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief, Rick Pluta, addressed the politics behind the insurance policies.

According to Pluta, Governor Rick Snyder hoped for the state to have better control over its health exchange.

“What Snyder wanted, if there was going to be an exchange, for it to be Michigan-run. That would give Michigan a lot more control over its own fate when it comes to dealing with Federal Health Care reforms,” said Pluta.

Michigan residents can expect House Republicans to take future action.

“House Republicans say they have not made a decision on what they want to do about the health care reforms. On the exchange... if we don’t participate, then we give up about $9 million in federal planning grants. Republicans are also facing some pressure from their Tea Party factions, saying they don’t think the health care reforms could work. They are urging Republicans to take a position of non-cooperation,” said Pluta.

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