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Utah health insurance exchange at a glance

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm •  Published: January 28, 2013

How is Utah's exchange set up and which agency will be responsible for overseeing it?

— The exchange, called Avenue H, is run by the state's Consumer Services department within the Office of Economic Development. The exchange was placed there by design, state officials said, because they believe the exchange is helping businesses grow by attracting and retaining employees.

Will Utah's exchange serve individuals and families, or just small businesses?

— The state is still deciding if they want to expand the exchange to offer plans to individuals, Spendlove said. An individual option is required by the Affordable Care Act. In getting conditional approval, the state submitted a plan that provides for that change. If they do opt to go that route, officials said they'll have no problems getting that up and running by October.

How much money has your state received so far from the federal government to do the initial work in setting up an exchange?

— The state took $1 million from a federal planning grant in 2010, but the exchange now operates on a state budget of $600,000 a year, Connor said. The state charges an administration fee of $8 per employee, per month to help take care of costs.

How will residents in your state access the exchange and what kind of customer support will be offered?

— The plan has an automated 1-800 number and 800 licensed brokers who help people choose the health insurance plans that fit them best. There are rules to prevent brokers from steering people toward certain companies. Utah charges a broker fee of $37 per employee, per month, for the service. That's comparable to what insurance companies charge within costs on traditional plans, officials said.

How many people will your exchange employ?

— Utah's exchange employs just five people. They may add a few employees as the exchange grows, but not many. The small size is by design to keep administrative costs down. "Our goal is to facilitate, rather than to administer the exchange," Connor said.