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Delaware Determined to Make Partnership Exchange Work

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, January 30, 2013

Tiny Delaware is one of only seven states to date committed to setting up a partnership-based insurance exchange with the federal government. It was one of the first states to receive federal approval for its exchange model, and was an early adopter to the idea of health insurance exchanges, reaching out years ago to neighboring states to gauge interest in setting up a regional exchange.

Rita Landgraf is Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, the agency overseeing the development of Delaware's State Partnership Health Insurance Exchange, which is estimated to cover 35,000 state residents. She recently spoke with HealthLeaders about the benefits and challenges of this new insurance model.

HLM: When did Delaware commit to setting up what is now known an insurance exchange?

Landgraf: The minute the law passed. That was just our philosophy early on. I would never want to say that we could predict what the Supreme Court was going to do, we had a federal mandate, we needed to get things going to meet the aggressive timeline, and even when it was challenged we weren't stopping to see what the Supreme Court was going to do.

Even within the challenges, we know that the cost of healthcare in the United States is far greater than any other country, and we also know that our outcomes are not good.

From my perspective, we started right at the time law passed and I think it was a great motivator, quite honestly, to pull us to the table to really look at this from a problem solving perspective. And, if the Supreme Court overturned it, I will tell you, I think in Delaware we would still be identifying what we need to do for this paradigm shift.

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