Georgia Panel Recommends Non-Profit Insurance Exchange

A conservative committee has outlined a plan to set up a health insurance exchange in Georgia, despite strong opposition to the federal healthcare reform law in many parts of the state, according to a Washington Post report.

Georgia currently joins 25 other states in a legal challenge to the universal mandate, set to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, however, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has given the state his blessing to set up a panel around health insurance exchanges.

Under the federal healthcare law, states must implement health insurance exchanges by Jan. 1, 2014, or invite the federal government to step in and take over the process. Insurance exchanges are intended to create an online "marketplace" where individuals and small businesses can comparison shop for insurance.

In Georgia, more than 20 percent of the population lacks medical coverage of any kind, and only 29 percent of Georgia firms with fewer than 10 employees offer health insurance.

The health insurance committee reached a consensus on recommendations it would send to Gov. Deal on Nov. 27. The Georgia exchange is expected to be a quasi-governmental non-profit that would operate like the state lottery. The exchange would be governed by a seven-member board of directions, with each director serving up to a three-year term.

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