State Representatives Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus) introduced legislation today to create the Ohio Health Benefit Exchange Agency. This will establish the Ohio Health Benefit Exchange Program and include an exchange for individual coverage and a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP Exchange). The exchange program will provide affordable coverage options for individuals and small business employers to provide health coverage for their employees throughout Ohio.
Rep. Antonio said, “We must be pro-active in designing the health exchanges and not leave the health care option decisions for the people of Ohio up to the Federal Government. This legislation to create the Ohio exchange is intended to increase consumer choice of health plans.”
This legislation will make quality health benefit plans available to individuals and employers who qualify beginning Jan. 1, 2014. This exchange must be established and implemented in order to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and to make Ohio eligible to receive an exchange establishment grant.
“We need clarity and certainty on these issues,” Rep. Carney said. “Those who are operating small businesses in Ohio are very anxious because of the Department of Insurance’s lack of a clear direction on whether Ohio will be establishing its own exchange. After months of inaction and the forfeiture of millions of dollars in federal grant opportunities, we have decided to take matters into our own hands as a legislature.”
Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate, SB 277.