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Affordable Insurance Exchanges

Affordable Insurance Exchanges seek to ease the navigation and financial burdens of both individual and small business health insurance.  As part of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), State-based exchanges are a “one-stop-shop” to compare and find affordable health coverage in a competitive insurance market.  The transparency of Exchanges allows consumers to compare private and public health plans based on price and quality. The ACA created the notion, but on August 12, 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services and Treasury awarded establishment grants to 13 states and the District of Columbia, to facilitate the implementation of the exchanges.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services received a Level One Establishment Grant in the amount of $7,670,803 on June 30, 2011 and $57,896,810 on December 30, 2011, to further the planning efforts of the state’s Exchange. A large portion of these grants will be used for the Information Technology support system necessary to implement the Exchange.  Operational planning, technical design, architecture of the system, integration with Medicaid and sustainability will also all be funded through these grants.  The Cabinet also received a $1,000,000 State Planning Grant on September 30, 2010 meant to discover more about the uninsured population of our state, survey health insurance carriers, provide economic forecasting models and study other States with existing Exchanges. 

The primary purpose of the Exchange model is to create a competitive marketplace, making insurance, thus health care affordable to the millions of uninsured Americans. With a level playing field all Americans will have access to insurance – that is both affordable and quality care.  In theory, the ACA will force insurance companies to play fair and create more opportunity for collective bargaining through small pools of individuals or businesses.  Like the Affordable Care Act, Affordable Insurance Exchanges are intended to change the landscape of our health care system. It’s an intriguing topic, one which we look forward to following and discussing. We will continue to explore the many facets of Exchanges in the coming weeks, check back next Thursday when we dig a little deeper and discover the Kentucky Health Care Co-Op. 

This article is intended as a summary of newly enacted federal law and does not constitute legal advice.

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