|Overview||HCAN’s Work||More Resources|
A health insurance exchange is a new marketplace for buying insurance. In 2014, every state will have an exchange that will organize plans and make them transparent so you know what benefits are covered and at what cost. In addition, middle-income families (less than $92,000 for a family of 4) without another source of insurance may be eligible for tax credits to help pay the cost of coverage.
HCAN’s Work on Health Insurance Exchanges
We organize at the grassroots around all of our priority issues in order to move policymakers and build public support. Our work on Capitol Hill is also key to our effort; please see below for examples of that work and relevant documents.
Key Issues in Exchanges
The federal rules for state exchange establishment and eligibility are expected to be finalized in the spring of 2012.
One of the most important issues to be decided in the states is who will govern the Exchanges. The governing board will have the ability to direct all the future decisions of the Exchanges. HCAN and our state partners urge states to establish governing boards with strong consumer representation and to prohibit the participation of anyone who will benefit financially from the decisions of the Exchange, like representatives of insurance companies or insurance agents and brokers.
States that do not have a fully-operational exchange may enter into a Partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services to perform either the consumer support or plan management functions while HHS retains ultimate responsibility for Exchange implementation.
Exchanges Should Work For Consumers, Not Insurance Companies
Exchanges should be smart purchasers with the authority to leverage the millions of consumers purchasing coverage there to command the best prices for consumers. But many states want to tie the hands of the Exchanges and force them to except every health plan that meets minimum standards. HCAN supports a dynamic Exchange that works on behalf of consumers to cut the fat from health insurance premiums and get the best prices.
Each state must have an Exchange ready to offer coverage by January 1, 2014. HHS will evaluate states’ progress in January 2013 and begin to set-up a federally-facilitated Exchange for states that aren’t on target to meet the 2014 deadline.
To date, 13 states and the District of Columbia have passed a law or have executive authority to establish an Exchange:
- Washington, D.C.
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
In September 2010, 48 states and DC were awarded $1 million grants to begin Exchange planning. In 2011, 28 states and DC received additional funding to support their progress in planning and implementing Exchanges.
- White House, 2012 Progress Report: States are Implementing Health Reform (1/18/12) Describes progress in exchange implementation.
- Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, Status of State Health Insurance Exchange Implementation Describes the status of legislation in every state and summarizes state grant awards.
- Kaiser Family Foundation, State Health Facts Tracks state implementation and governing boards.
- Families USA
- All HCAN materials on health insurance exchanges