Analyst: Ohio Consumers Slowed By Federal Health Exchange

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Ohio Health Policy Institute president, Amy Rohling McGee, tells the Columbus Metropolitan Club uninsured Ohioans have to use the federal healthcare exchange website to sign up for coverage
Ohio Health Policy Institute president, Amy Rohling McGee, tells the Columbus Metropolitan Club uninsured Ohioans have to use the federal healthcare exchange website to sign up for coverage

Ohio is using the federal insurance marketplace to allow consumers to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. But, the site has experienced technical hiccups and long waits. An analyst with the non-partisan Health Policy Institute of Ohio says its unclear whether Ohio would be better off with its own health insurance exchange.

The head of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, Amy Rohling McGee, says it’s uncertain whether the state would have benefited by setting up its own health care exchange, rather than relying on the federal marketplace.

During the first week of sign-up for the new federal health care law, some consumers were unable to access the federal website.

“I don’t know if it would have made a difference. I know that a lot of the states that have state based marketplaces are experiencing similar challenges. The only one that I’ve heard is up and working very well is Kentucky,” says Rohling-McGee.

Rohling McGee told a Columbus Metropolitan Club audience on Wednesday uninsured individuals have until the end of March to sign up for health care. The website or the insurance marketplaces offer plans and options for consumers to buy health care. Rohling McGee says Ohioans can choose among eleven insurers with a wide range of premium and coverage options.

Federal officials cite heavy traffic, log-in and security among issues consumers faced during the first week the health care exchanges were open. The Affordable Care Act requires all individuals to have health insurance on January 1st. Rohling McGee says currently 51% of Ohioans get health insurance from their employer. an estimated 150,000 Ohioans are uninsured.

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