American Medical News

August 27, 2012

By JENNIFER LUBELL, amednews staff

Physicians navigating the world after health system reform are headed toward a large, uncharted area over the horizon in the form of health insurance exchanges. The coverage marketplaces will serve millions of people, but with few predecessor models to serve as guides, doctors wondering what the exchanges will be like for them are, for the most part, sailing blind.

Health insurance exchanges are scheduled to emerge by 2014, at which point individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for a variety of plan options, including coverage that might come with federal subsidies. From then onwards, individuals and small businesses will be able to assess any potential benefits or pitfalls associated with switching health insurance policies and providers. They can compare and contrast different insurances and find out which is best for the company. Whether this is with a health insurance jacksonville company or one closer to their location. Forming competitive marketplaces is a major way in which Affordable Care Act architects intended not only to expand coverage to tens of millions of people, but also to restrain cost growth in the system.

This isn’t the only change affecting the marketplace as there are signs that disability insurance (see for an example) is growing in popularity as an alternative to health insurance. This is because many policies often cover health care costs as a result of a condition that leaves one unable to work. Though for the moment it seems health insurance is the more popular option, that may too change when the reforms come. Many insurance providers (like the ones at Curo Financial and similar others) are actively looking forward to bringing about these changes.

The move from plan to implementation, however, so far has not produced many hard details. In an attempt to have exchanges up and running by October 2013, when open enrollment would begin for the 2014 coverage year, the Dept. of Health and Human Services set a deadline of Nov. 16, 2012, for states to submit exchange blueprint proposals. The leaders of some states opposed to the reform law that created the marketplaces have said they have no intention of submitting proposals, and others might need to rely at least in part on the federal government to get their exchanges up and running.

States are very independent, and health care in particular is very local, said Kevin Counihan, chief executive officer of the health insurance exchange being developed in Connecticut. He expects that 13 to 15 states will end up crafting their own exchanges, about 10 may pursue joint federal-state partnership exchanges and 25 others may default entirely to a federal exchange.

Republican governors have expressed their hopes that a change in White House and Senate control after the November elections will enable a repeal of the ACA before such a federal marketplace is set up for residents of their states. Any deadline delay or other major change to the exchange rollout would need to come out of Congress and be approved by the president…

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