The deadline for states to decide whether or not they were going to set up their own health insurance exchange was December 14th, and as of now 18 states have opted to create their own marketplace for purchasing health insurance policies. The US Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, posted Monday that these marketplaces would be available to consumers and businesses in 2014 and the number of states participating is in line with expectations. The federal government will be creating health insurance exchanges for the rest of the country to utilize.
These exchanges are an important part of the US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from 2010. Major health insurers will be involved including UnitedHealth Group, Wellpoint INC, Aetna INC, and Cigna Corp according to the December 18th article on Reuters.com. Sebelius talked about some of the benefits of these exchanges in her post and goes on to point out of the marketplace will provide consumers and small businesses one-stop shopping and easy access to health insurance information through an organized, online process. With the health insurance exchanges in place and the expansion of Medicaid, over 30 million people are expected to gain health insurance coverage over the next ten years.
Some of the states that submitted applications for health insurance exchanges are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah. This decision was challenging for some states as it meant some conservative opposition. The federal government conditionally approved some applications on Friday from the District of Columbia, Kentucky, and New York. They have already backed plans from Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington. The other 32 states have until February 15, 2013 to decide if they will be setting up an exchange in partnership with the federal government.
This process has been long and stressful for many officials as states make this important decision. There is much opposition to health care reform in general and many do not believe these marketplaces will offer the value that is being sold at this time. Some strong opponents are working on ways to stop the health law from being fully implemented at all, but with President Obama’s re-election for another four years it seems that the plan is rolling and would be very difficult to stop at this point.
It seems that efforts would be better spent working on quality exchanges that will help save consumers time and money and make the process of obtaining health insurance much easier. Sites such as www.HealthInsuranceSort.com offer convenient options for shopping for health insurance policies, including short term health insurance choices, and should be utilized consistently. It’s not a new idea, but now more people will be aware that there is an easier way to obtain coverage.
Written by Sam Tabes
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