KHI News Service

Insurance exchange meetings canceled by Chamber

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | August 15, 2011

The remaining meetings scheduled for business leaders to learn about the proposed Kansas health insurance exchange have been canceled, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce announced today.

The first meeting organized by the Chamber was Aug. 8 in Topeka. Three more were scheduled in Overland Park, Hays and Wichita.

However an Aug. 9 announcement by Gov. Sam Brownback cast doubt on if and how exchange planning in Kansas might proceed. Brownback returned a $31.5 million innovator grant awarded to Kansas for planning its exchange.

The health reform law requires that states set up a health insurance purchasing exchange and have it operating by 2014. Kansans will use the Web-based exchange to purchase private health plans that meet federal coverage requirements or to sign up for Medicaid coverage if they qualify.

Some Republicans had urged Brownback to return the grant money — and discontinue planning for an exchange — because they oppose implementation of the health reform law. States that do not form their own exchanges will have one operated for them by the federal government.