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Montana exchange could offer three carriers

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The Montana Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange could offer consumers a choice of three carriers.

Montana is letting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provide PPACA exchange services for its residents, but state regulators can still help regulate the plans that will be available through a “federally facilitated exchange” (FFE).

Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, PacificSource Health Plans and Montana Health CO-OP have filed applications seeking exchange slots.

Insurers will make final commitments about decisions to sell “qualified health plans” (QHPs) through the exchanges in August, Lindeen said.

Montana Blue is trying to set up a “multi-state plan” (MSP) — a plan regulated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that could sell coverage through slots in PPACA exchanges in two or more states.

The CO-OP is a new, nonprofit, member-owned health plan.

The drafters of PPACA created the MSP and CO-OP plan systems in an effort to increase the level of competition n states like Montana in which one carrier accounts for more than half of the sales in the individual market. 

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