Affordable Insurance Exchanges: Choices, Competition and Clout for States

On March 12, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule on Affordable Health Insurance Exchanges, which combines policies from two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) published last summer. One rule, published on July 15, 2011, outlined a proposed framework to enable states to build Affordable Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges), which are new state-based competitive marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. A second NPRM, published on August 17, 2011, outlined proposed standards for eligibility for enrollment in qualified health plans through the Exchange and insurance affordability programs, including premium tax credits.

Starting in 2014, one-stop marketplaces called Exchanges will be operational, enabling consumers and small businesses to choose a quality, affordable private health insurance plan that fits their health needs. Exchanges will offer health insurance options that meet consumer-friendly standards; facilitate consumer assistance, shopping for and enrollment in a private health insurance plan; and coordinate eligibility for premium tax credits and other affordability programs that ensure health insurance is affordable for all Americans. Through Exchanges, the public will have the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress.Read more…

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