Missouri Insurance Officials Stall on Implementing Health Insurance Exchange

Missouri insurance officials have delayed spending millions of federal dollars on the computer technology needed to implement a health insurance exchange as mandated under the federal healthcare law, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report.

Missouri was awarded a $21 million federal grant last month to set up a state-run health insurance exchange, which would allow individuals and small businesses to shop for health insurance in an online marketplace. Under the healthcare reform law, states must set up exchanges by 2014 or invite the government to step in and set them up.

A bill authorizing a state-run exchange in Missouri passed in the House earlier this year but failed in the Senate. A state board was scheduled Thursday to accept the federal grant money, establish a health insurance exchange unit and designate a project manager.

However, the governing board for the Missouri Health Insurance Pool canceled the votes after Republican senators complained that Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's administration was planning to implement the exchange without legislative approval.

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