Update to Health Care Reform

State health insurance exchanges are starting to be created as one of the most important component of healthcare reform for small businesses and individual households. Medical Health Insurance Exchanges will facilitate the purchasing of individual and small group insurance via State run websites. Customers will be able to go on line and be guided by efficient insurance exchanges permitting them to research, shop, compare and buy medical health insurance.

In 2014 Each State or Regional Exchange will perform important functions when the health reform law expands coverage to around 30 million Americans. Using the web site might be difficult for some people so there is going to be a Toll-free phone number and local offices to explain the alternatives. Once an individual has an understanding of their options and the details of each health plan, consumers can request help with an application for coverage,

The role of a personal insurance agent is very helpful for consumers to understand the complexity of medical health insurance. It looks like the role of independent insurance agents within the framework of the exchange model will still be helpful however it is not clear yet how they will be linked to the system.

These new Exchanges will become a gateway for State Medicaid programs as well as other public health programs. One of their mandates will be to decide one’s eligibility for a public plan if available and help with their enrollment. Individuals can still buy health on their own. Anyone that is eligible for premium subsidies has to use the exchange.

States have been laboratories for innovative government solutions. Right now states are researching exchange marketplaces. They will be able to set one up as an individual state, as a coalition with other states or use a federal design for their residents. A federal insurance plan will always be an option within any exchange as one of the choices.

Each State’s efforts to enact national health care reform have proceeded at different speeds. States are already working to establish Exchanges. Almost fifty States accepted grants to help in their research and planning stages of Exchanges. More than 50% of them are already working with their legislature to implement an exchange by the 2014 deadline. A few states have decided not to do anything at this time.

In a resource that has been set up by the Kaiser Family Foundation you are able to keep track of what states are doing in regards to creating health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Exchange Monitor always features new data and was described in our last Blog where you can access their information.

In our upcoming Blog I will include details of developments for Washington State Health insurance clients as well as policies provided by the LifeWise and Regence insurance companies to help individuals and bloggers who need more specific information. If you would like to provide helpful news please don’t hesitate to join in our forum.