State Exchange Profiles: Wyoming
Updated as of December 11, 2012
Establishing the Exchange
On November 14, 2012, Governor Matt Mead (R) acknowledged Wyoming would default to a federally-operated health insurance exchange for 2014, with the possibility of moving to a state-run exchange in the future.1
Governor Mead had signed HB 0050 into law in 2011 establishing the Wyoming Health Insurance Exchange Steering Committee to study the feasibility of creating a health insurance exchange in the state.2 The Steering Committee was comprised of four members from the Legislature and 17 appointees, including representatives of businesses, insurers, providers, hospitals, consumers, and state agencies.3 The Steering Committee received approval for an extension to continue researching exchange implementation until 2013; however, in March 2012, the Committee voted unanimously not to file an extension for federal funds.4 Exchange planning was suspended despite Governor Mead’s support for Wyoming continuing to pursue establishment of “some components of a state-run benefit exchange.”5 The Governor also indicated that the exchange should be established by the Legislature, and not through an executive order, as had been discussed by the Committee.6 Since Wyoming’s 2012 legislative session was a budget session, requiring a two-thirds majority vote, exchange legislation would not have been possible until the 2013 General Session.
Information Technology (IT): In June 2012, the Wyoming Department of Health released a Request for Proposals (RFP) soliciting subcontractors to upgrade the state’s Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility and enrollment system which will integrate with an exchange.7 Wyoming has received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for an enhanced federal match to assist with financing IT upgrades of the state’s Medicaid and CHIP eligibility systems.8
Essential Health Benefits (EHB): The ACA requires that all non-grandfathered individual and small-group plans sold in a state, including those offered through the Exchange, cover certain defined health benefits. Since Wyoming has not put forward a recommendation, the state’s benchmark EHB plan will default to the largest small-group plan in the state, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming- Blue Choice Business, PPO.
In September 2010, the Wyoming Department of Insurance received a federal Exchange Planning grant of $800,000. Additionally, HB 0050 appropriated $145,000 from the General Fund for any portions of the study not paid for by the federal grant. In his 2013 budget proposal to the Legislature, Governor Mead included a request for $100,000 to assist in the state in evaluating exchange options beyond 2014.9
The federal government will assume full responsibility for running a health insurance exchange in Wyoming beginning in 2014.
1. Brown, Trevor. “Feds to control Wyoming health care.” November 14, 2012. WyomingNews.http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2012/11/14/news/01top_11-14-12.txt
2. HB 0050. Wyoming act to study a state health insurance exchange. Signed March 10, 2011.http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2011/Enroll/HB0050.pdf
3. Wolfson, J. “Wyoming’s Insurance Exchange Committee Members.” Casper Star-Tribune. July 1, 2011. http://trib.com/news/opinion/blogs/wolfjammies/article_66b88eb8-c1cc-5426-bad4-f8febf79bbed.html
4. Bleizeffer, Dustin. “Lawmakers put the brakes on health insurance exchange effort.” WyoFile. April 3, 2012. http://wyofile.com/2012/04/health-on-hold-lawmakers-put-the-brakes-on-health-insurance-exchange-effort/
5. Wolfson J. “Wyoming Gov. Mead Supports State Health Exchange Recommendations.” Casper Star-Tribune. October 10, 2011. http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming-gov-mead-supports-state-health-exchange-recommendation/article_3f3d6b73-af00-5a86-8193-bc34eb10e31d.html
6. Brown T. “Health Insurance Exchange Could Bypass Legislature.” Wyoming Tribune Eagle. October 5, 2011. http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2011/10/05/news/19local_10-05-11.txt
7. White, T. “Wyoming Making Moves on Health Insurance Exchange Efforts.” GovWin from Deltek. May 9, 2012. http://iq.govwin.com/index.cfm?fractal=blogTool.dsp.blog&blogname=public&alias=Wyoming-making-moves-on-health-insurance-exchange-efforts.
8. Performing Under Pressure: Annual Findings of a 50-state survey of Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and cost-sharing policies in Medicaid and CHIP. January 2012. Kaiser Family Foundation. http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/8272.pdf
9. Governor Matt Mead. 2013-2014 Supplemental Budget Letter. November 30, 2012.http://governor.wy.gov/Documents/2013-14%20Supplemental%20Budget%20Letter%20and%20Message.pdf