Southeast Arkansas residents will have an opportunity to ask State Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford questions about the new federally-facilitated Health Insurance Exchange Partnership in Arkansas during a meeting at Monticello High School on July 18 from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford and Cynthia Crone, director of the state Insurance Department’s Health Benefits Exchange Partnership Division, will discuss planning strategies, answer questions and receive comments from area residents interested in how this partnership benefits them.

Bradford will host two information sessions which will take place at the Arkansas Insurance Department in Little Rock and broadcast via live interactive video to satellite locations in Monticello, Forrest City, Russellville, Hope, Fayetteville, Little Rock and Batesville.

An exchange, which will be in place in every state beginning Jan. 1, 2014, is a marketplace where individuals and small employers will be able to shop for insurance coverage.

“While Arkansas will not have a state-based Health Benefits Exchange, I am glad the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set up this Partnership Model which allows the state some control over the insurance plans sold through the Federally-facilitated Exchange and consumer assistance for those Arkansans utilizing the Exchange to purchase health insurance,” Bradford said. “I think this Partnership Model can be a real bonus for Arkansas insurance consumers.”

This partnership between the federal government and the state gives the Arkansas Insurance Department continued regulatory control over the insurance plans which will be available for purchase through the exchange.

Current projections are that 572,000 uninsured Arkansans will be able to obtain coverage through the exchange.

Those unable to attend a session at those locations may join via webinar at http://hbe.arkansas.gov where more information is available. Residents may also call 501-683-7231 for additional information. To ask questions, please send e-mails to [email protected].