AUGUSTA — A report that outlines an important component of health insurance reform in Maine, a health care exchange where people can shop for policies, was met with expressions of frustration by Democrats as it was presented Monday to a legislative committee.

“I’m disappointed,” Sen. Joseph Brannigan, D-Portland, said before he and other members of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee received the report. “It just doesn’t seem friendly and inviting as a marketplace for businesses and people shopping for insurance.”

The federal health insurance overhaul, or Affordable Care Act, requires states to set up nonprofit exchanges, which must be self-sustaining by 2015. The report recommending ways to structure Maine’s exchange was prepared by a nine-member advisory panel created by the Legislature earlier this year.

Whether Maine’s exchange ever becomes reality depends largely on whether the federal ACA survives legal challenges in the federal courts, most likely the Supreme Court.

The bill advanced Monday meets federal guidelines, such as authorizing the exchange to certify participating health plans, determine eligibility of individuals to participate in the exchange, and maintain toll-free hotlines and other services to assist individuals in purchasing coverage. It would consult with stakeholders to make participation easier.

The federal law permits the exchange to charge assessments or user fees to health carriers or adopt other measures to generate funding to support its operations.

Joseph Bruno, chair of the advisory committee, took issue with Democratic claims that the exchange is light on consumer interests, saying the report recommends having consumer representation on its governing board and other advisory panels. He also recommended a “go slow approach” to creating an exchange, noting that the federal guidelines on exchanges are not yet fully developed.

Bruno, who also chairs the trustees board for Maine’s Dirigo Health program, said lawmakers should consider whether that state health insurance program should be reformulated into the exchange.

Lawmakers plan to take up the exchange legislation later this fall.