Gregoire signs insurance exchange bill into law

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a bill setting rules for insurers preparing for the state’s online insurance exchange.

Online exchanges are key to the federal health care overhaul signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The state exchanges for individual and small-group plans are set go live January 1, 2014.

The U.S. Supreme Court will start hearing on Monday a challenge to the federal health care law. If it is overturned in its entirety, the state’s exchange could still be put in place but federal funding would likely be lost.

Under the bill signed into law Friday, carriers will be able to sell plans outside of the exchange but won’t be allowed to target only the young and the healthy by offering only cheaper plans with high deductibles.

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