§33-16G-3. Establishment of exchange.
     (a) There is established within the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner an entity known as the West Virginia Health Benefit Exchange. This is a governmental entity of the state.

     (b) The exchange shall pursue available federal funding for operation of the exchange and shall promulgate rules necessary to obtain federal recognition of the exchange as a certified exchange under the Federal Act.

     (c) The exchange may accept gifts, grants and bequests, contract with other persons, and enter into memoranda of understanding with other governmental agencies to carry out any of its functions, including agreements with other states to perform joint administrative functions. The provisions of article three, chapter five-a of this code relating to the Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration do not apply to these contracts: Provided, That these contracts shall be awarded on a competitive basis. The exchange may not enter into contracts with any health insurance carrier or an affiliate of a health insurance carrier.

     (d) The exchange may enter into information-sharing agreements with federal and state agencies and other state exchanges to carry out its responsibilities under this article, provided such agreements include adequate protections with respect to the confidentiality of the information to be shared and comply with all state and federal laws and regulations.