Efforts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make the new health insurance exchange program as flexible as possible for the states could hurt health insurers.

Steve Zaharuk, a senior vice president at Moody's Investors Service, New York, writes about that concern in a commentary about the recent release of HHS notices of proposed rulemaking for efforts to established the health insurance exchange distribution programs required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).

The Exchanges

If PPACA takes effect as written and works as supporters hope, the exchanges will help individuals and small groups buy health coverage using a new system of subsidies starting in 2014.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, a senior reporter at ThinkAdvisor and BenefitsPRO, previously was an associate editor at National Underwriter Life & Health. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached through X at @Think_Allison.