It’s official: Arkansas will partner with the federal government on the health-insurance exchange required by the Affordable Care Act. No surprise.
Insurance companies will be charged an additional 3.5 percent federal processing fee on policies sold on the exchange because Arkansas opted against a state-run exchange. This fee will presumably be passed on to consumers, though most consumers will be protected from premium increases by the ACA’s regulation of price variation on the exchange and subsidies to help people between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty line.
The deadline for states to decide whether to run their own exchange is this Friday and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on Monday there would be no extension. Gov. Mike Beebe , who supports a state-run exchange, suggested that the state could opt for a state-run model down the road if legislators change their mind. According to HHS, states can apply at any time to run the exchange themselves in future years.