W.Va. near Obama health coverage exchange decision

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia officials expect to partner with the federal government to operate a new insurance marketplace called for by the federal health care overhaul.

That route is one of three options that each state faces for running these exchanges. An exchange aims to unite the buying power of individuals, families and small businesses as they select coverage from private insurance companies.

Officials believe that between 37,000 and 60,000 West Virginians would take part in an exchange. Those estimates have them convinced that the state can't afford to run an exchange by itself.

Some health insurers see value in a state-federal partnership approach. So do supporters of the federal health care law, but they also view a state-run exchange as a missed opportunity.

The law calls for exchanges by next October.

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