Federal Health Exchanges Omit Cost Controls in Massachusetts Model

Not that the Bay State's version worked so well


WASHINGTON — When millions of Americans around the country sign up for insurance under President Obama's sweeping health care law in October, the system they encounter will lack some of the key protections and cost controls that Massachusetts consumers receive.

Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to implement near-universal health coverage, served as the model for major aspects of the groundbreaking health care overhaul law. But under lobbying pressure from the insurance industry, the Obama administration has decided not to adopt features of the Massachusetts plan that advocates say have helped consumers more easily make cost-effective choices.

Massachusetts, in an effort to ensure that consumers get the best deals, conducts competitive bidding to promote cost-efficient plans in its exchange — the state's online insurance marketplace — and standardizes the benefit packages to make it easier for consumers to compare plans.