Health Insurance Exchanges

The Affordable Healthcare Act may have not only changed the United State’s  healthcare system forever, it also may have changed the insurance industry  forever.  The implementation of so called health insurance exchanges, or HIX for short, have helped change the industry forever.  The model is a consumer based  approach, where customers will be able to shop for the best insurance plan for  them.  President Obama focused on allowing states to set up the exchanges  instead of a blanket approach that would make one exchange for the whole  country.

Ideally, the concept will allow people with preexisting conditions to be denied  insurance.  Customers will have to satisfy a smaller amount of conditions in order  to receive insurance.  Lawmakers envisioned this change as a system in which citizens will be allowed to have the same type of variety that members of  Congress have in shopping for their health insurance.  At this point you may be saying, “Great, now how in the world will they  implement this and what does this mean for me?” Let’s try to answer this  question! The exchanges can cover a whole state or be broken up in to smaller exchanges in one state.  For instance a state like California may have a Southern  California exchange and Northern California exchange.  As long as the exchange covers a certain geographic area they will be allowed to operate.

States can also partner with other bordering states to create an exchange. As for how the exchanges will be run and affect you, the consumer, lets look at the car insurance model. President Obama has repeatedly compared these  exchanges to car insurance purchasing.  People living in an area that has a HIX  will be able to compare plans online and buy which ever one fits them the best.

There will different levels of coverage, given a gold, silver, or bronze designation. Only companies meeting the standards set forth by ACA regulations will be able  to sell their insurance plans.  According to, this alone  will lower insurance premiums 7-10 percent. Listed below are the criteria to be  an ACA-approved insurance plan.

All plans must include:

1. Ambulatory patient services

2. Emergency services

3. Hospitalization

4. Maternity and newborn care

5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment

6. Prescription drugs

7. Rehabilitative and rehabilitative services and devices

8. Laboratory services

9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management

10. Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

We have yet to see if these will in fact work in the United States.  In theory,  they sound like a great idea and that they will allow for variety in insurance  shopping.  The hope is that more people will be able to become insured in the  long run.





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