Insurance Exchange Setup Would Hinge on Tech Workers

As states like Tennessee look at creating insurance exchanges under the federal healthcare overhaul, demand is spiking for the information technology or IT know-how to set one up.

It’s still an open question whether Tennessee even sets up an exchange. Weighing on that are a pending Supreme Court ruling, the presidential election, and state lawmakers. There’s also plenty of wrangling over guidelines, grant money and deadlines, which falls to one Brian Haile.

Haile says there’s also a limited talent pool for building an exchange, and plenty of demand from other states.

“My colleague in another state said if he were as popular in high school as he is with IT vendors and headhunters today, his life would be entirely different. I think what he’s trying to say is there’s a real shortage of talent nationwide to put together a lot of these types of systems.”

Haile says that means states that dally could find fewer firms capable of doing the work.

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Haile says a Tennessee exchange would cost between $40 and $120 million to set up – and Governor Bill Haslam wants Washington to pay every dime. Making that happen could take legislative approval on a politically sticky issue. Haile is set to update a committee of lawmakers Wednesday.

The state exchange would be a website where people and businesses could compare and shop for health insurance.

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