The Affordable Care Act has met a lot of opposition, especially as states choose whether or not they are setting up their own state-run exchange. The mandate says that all states and territories should establish their own health insurance exchange before January 1, 2014 or they will default to a federally run exchange program. It’s estimated that between 16 and 23 states, plus Washington DC, plan on establishing their own health insurance exchange. About 15 states have decided to use the federal program, while the rest of the states are still deciding according to Ron Goldstein’s article on SFExaminer.com. The question still remains whether or not these exchanges will bring the value that President Obama and his administration have been selling.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over 12 million people will be purchasing health insurance through these exchanges by 2014 and over time this number should double. This gives the exchanges a huge purpose and make them very important as an online resource where consumers, employers and brokers can easily compare health insurance plans and make well-informed decisions with choice being an ultimate goal. The hope is that it fosters competition and keeps the consumer in charge as they shop for the best health insurance plan for their individual needs.
Supporters of The Affordable Care Act are hopeful that the health insurance exchanges will end up bringing down the over all costs of premiums over time. Choice should be a top priority for consumers as they compare plans side by side. Through these exchanges, employees of small businesses and individuals will have access to a wide array of plans with different benefit levels and varying costs giving them control over what they are purchasing. Consumers will also have the flexibility of moving from one plan to another as their situations change giving peace of mind and security to buyers.
There is evidence that the health insurance exchanges will work and can provide a lot of value. Some public exchanges are already in the works while some are actually up and running. The nation’s most successful private health insurance exchange, CaliforniaChoice, has been serving the small to medium market for 16 years and providing coverage for 10,000 employers and 150,000 individuals. Their services are considered effective and efficient as they create a platform for buying health insurance which is trustworthy and straightforward. Private exchanges will continue to compete in the market and hopefully encourage innovation in this ever-changing industry.
Health insurance exchanges are a major step towards health care reform in America. It will change the way Americans buy health insurance and the hope is that it encourages more people to carry coverage and ultimately bring down the cost of health care over time. The individual mandate will be in place to require most people to seek out coverage if they don’t already have it, and an exchange should hopefully make this process less painful. Shopping around for health insurance doesn’t have to be the overwhelming process so many Americans perceive it to be. It should be streamlined so people feel like they are making good decisions for themselves and their families.
Written by Sam Tabes
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Tags: affordable care act, health care reform, health insurance exchanges, Health Insurance Quotes, individual mandate, shopping around for health insurance