Gov. John Kasich announced Friday that Ohio will retain its responsibilities to regulate insurance plans in a health insurance exchange and set Medicaid eligibility, but would cede all other administrative responsibilities for the exchanges to the federal government (Source: "Ohio insurance exchange left to feds," Columbus Dispatch, Nov. 17, 2012).
In a letter to the Centers from Medicare and Medicaid Services (pdf, 2 pages), Kasich wrote that, "At this point, based on the information we have, states do not have any flexibility to build and manage exchanges in ways that respond to unique needs of their citizens or markets. Regardless of who runs the exchange, the end product is the same."
By retaining its authority to regulate insurers operating plans in the exchange and to set eligibility for Medicaid, the state will maintain some ability to shape the way the exchanges conduct business.
"I am confident that Ohio will meet federal standards to maintain its control of these responsibilities. In the meantime I urge you to promptly issue the guidance and rules Ohio needs to align plan management and Medicaid eligibility with an otherwise federally-facilitated health benefits exchange," Kasich wrote.
"Now that Ohio has arrived at a greater level of certainty on how its insurance exchanges will be managed, it is important that they be developed in such a way that Ohio consumers will have streamlined access to all of the benefits for which they are eligible," said HPIO President Amy Rohling McGee.