State Representatives have voted to establish a quasi-public agency to launch and run a health insurance exchance that will play a key role in expanding coverage under the federal health reform law.

The exchange will have a wide range of responsibilities. It will offer a choice of health plans–all or most are expected to be from private insurance carriers–to individuals and small businesses, including those who qualify for federal subsidies to buy coverage. It will give consumers a way to comparison shop for plans, operating a website that some have compared to travel websites like Orbitz.

The plans sold in the exchange will be subject to more rules and reporting requirements than the existing market requires.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he intends to sign the bill.

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