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Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

D.C. council approves broad exchange fee

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The Council of the District of Columbia has given the district’s locally run health benefits exchange permission to use a wide-ranging assessment to fund its operations in 2015.

The D.C. council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve an exchange funding resolution. The resolution calls for managers of the DC Health Link exchange to move ahead with efforts to impose a 1 percent assessment on all “health insurance carriers” in the distrct.

Only four carriers are selling major medical coverage through the exchange this year.

Carriers cannot sell products such as indemnity insurance, disability insurance, vision insurance or long-term care insurance (LTCI) through the exchange, and some have asked in comments on the proposal why they should have to help pay for the exchange.

Exchange managers said requiring exchange users to shoulder the full 28 million 2015 exchange budget by themselves would increase the cost of coverage by about 17 percent.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray wrote in a letter introducing the resolution that the broad-based assessment is necessary to provide a stable and guaranteed funding source for the exchange system.

“It is similar to the broad-based assessment that funds the operations of the ombudsman program located within the Department of Health Care Finance,” Gray wrote.

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