A health insurance exchange (also known as a marketplace) is a new organization established under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The theory behind the exchanges is to give people access to an organized, competitive market in which they can research and compare various affordable health insurance options, and ultimately purchase a plan that best meets their needs.
When will the exchanges open?
- October 1, 2013, just in time to start selling coverage that is effective on January 1, 2014 (the date insurance becomes mandatory under ACA).
Who can buy insurance through an exchange?
- Individuals not eligible for federal assistance under Medicaid, Medicare, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Individuals without access to affordable, employer-sponsored group insurance
- Small businesses (up to 100 employees)
Who will run the exchanges?
- Each state will have at least one exchange, run either by the state itself or by the federal government. To learn who will run your state’s exchange, click here.
- States may have multiple exchanges as long as only one serves each geographic area.
- Some states may join together to form regional exchanges.
How will I access the exchange?
- Individuals and small businesses will access the exchange either online, via phone, or in person.
What if I cannot afford any insurance sold in the exchange?
- Some individuals will be eligible for subsidies when buying insurance through the exchange.
How will I be sure the coverage I choose is compliant with ACA?
- All plans sold in the exchanges will be certified to meet the requirements for essential health benefits under ACA.
We have heard some folks liken the exchange to a travel site (think: Travelocity, Expedia). We don’t think it will be quite that simple. After all, selecting the right health insurance coverage for you, your family, or your employees is a lot more complex than buying a plane ticket!
Confused? Give Virginia Medical Plans a call!