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Utah set to begin its own health care reform

Utah set to begin its own health care reform



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A new website will be like Travelocity.com, but instead of shopping for flights, some Utahns will be able to shop for health insurance plans. It goes live Aug. 19.

Salt Lake Chamber COO Natalie Gochnour told KSL's Doug Wright, "It really is the tool of the future in trying to control costs and improve services for people."

She says people picking their own insurance will be more accountable.

"Because they are spending their money, they have skin in the game and will make choices that are less costly to society," she said.

Plans included in the health insurance exchange currently range from about $150 to $475 for a family of four.

Gochnour says the system is flexible and portable. "If you work at one place and change jobs, if both of those employers have designated this portal as one of their health insurance solutions, your insurance moves with you."

Initially, plans will be offered by four carriers -- Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah; UnitedHealthcare; SelectHealth and Humana.

A recent survey showed that 60 percent of small businesses in Utah don't offer health insurance to their employees, and of those that do, most are struggling to pay for it.

She says, to be clear, this is just a first introductory step. Right now it's only open to small businesses with up to 50 employees who chose to participate. But there is hope for growth.

This is only the second health insurance exchange in the country. Massachusetts has the first. Utah's was created when Gov. Huntsman signed HB 188 into law in March.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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Mary Richards

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