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VA Lawmakers Urged to Swap ACA for Less Expensive State Plan


Thursday, January 30, 2020   

RICHMOND, Va. -- A health care coalition is pressing Virginia lawmakers to back a bill that would create a new state-based health insurance program.

The groups say the proposal would lower the cost of premiums and protect folks with pre-existing conditions, according to Henrico County resident Avis Thomas, an American Heart Association volunteer.

Thomas says she's seen other states, such as Maryland, reduce costs with state-based plans.

"It's known that when states are able to create their own marketplace exchange, that they are able to lower those premiums and also have various options for people when it comes to choosing insurance companies," she states.

Virginia's proposed bill would mean the state would save on a 3% fee charged by the federal government to manage plans under the Affordable Care Act.

But opponents of the bill say the state could be stuck with budget overruns if technology costs balloon while maintaining the program.

Thomas says it's important that Virginia's proposal provides affordable insurance to folks with pre-existing conditions.

She had a kidney transplant 10 years ago and has many health problems as a result. Also, her husband has diabetes and neuropathy.

Because of their health conditions, Thomas' family has been forced to take health insurance plans with high premiums to make sure they get the coverage they need.

"No one I know actually gets in line or volunteers to have a pre-existing condition," she states. "So it's important that pre-existing conditions are acknowledged, that people know about them and that they're protected."

A new study shows that more states are looking to save money by converting to state-based marketplaces.

The State of Nevada estimates it will save $19 million through 2023 by moving away from Healthcare.gov.

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