Governor Andrew Cuomo is using his executive power to create a state health insurance exchange that he says would help small businesses and individuals secure medical insurance. On Thursday, the governor sidestepped opposition from Republicans in the state legislature and issued an executive order in accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act. Once it’s up and running, the exchange will essentially function as the health insurance equivalent of such best-deal clearinghouses as the travel website Expedia.
The owner of a small business, for example, would be able to determine the best package from a slate of options custom-fitted to its size and needs.
Cuomo’s action provides the basic groundwork for the exchange, which would be developed and run by the state Department of Health in consultation with the Department of Financial Services and other agencies. While the order sets no deadline for the exchange to be operational, it’s anticipated to be ready for business sometime in 2013.
In a prepared statement, the governor said the sky-high cost of insurance in New York is driving businesses out of the state and preventing lower income New Yorkers from being able to afford needed coverage. He added that by establishing the health exchange, it will bring true competition into the health care marketplace, driving costs down across the state.
The administration says the exchange will be entirely financed by the federal government.