Health-Insurance-Exchanges August 08, 2013

Getting Ready for Health Insurance Exchanges

By Andy Austin
Senior Simplification Strategist

It seems as if we’ve been talking about the Affordable Care Act and health care reform for years now. And we have. But finally, the biggest changes brought by the law are right around the corner.

In less than 60 days—starting October 1—the new public health insurance marketplaces, better known as exchanges, will launch. Once they do, individuals and employees of many small businesses can begin enrolling for new plan coverage that starts January 1, 2014.

One sure sign of these impending changes is the recent relaunch of HealthCare.gov, the official health care reform website. With the revamp, the site now focuses exclusively on consumers and small employers, offering broad information about health insurance, new requirements for getting coverage and answers to typical consumer questions.

Today, the site provides step-by-step guidance on what to do once open enrollment begins on October 1. Starting on that date, the Get Insurance section will offer access to the federal marketplace or link to the appropriate state-specific marketplace if one exists. (HealthCare.gov already invites visitors to create an account if their state will use the federal marketplace, or directs them to their respective state marketplace sites, many of which are up in prelaunch mode.)

For anyone who wants to get a head start, HealthCare.gov has a handy tool that lets visitors explore their options based on age, current coverage status and other factors. The site can also help users see whether they might qualify for premium and cost-sharing subsidies. An application checklist identifies the documents needed in order to apply once October 1 rolls around.

It’s way too soon to tell how smooth the exchange rollout will be, or if every state-run exchange will be operational on schedule. There are bound to be some other bumps along the way—witness the recently announced one-year delay in implementing the employer mandate. But judging by what’s on Healthcare.gov today, the federal health insurance marketplace may be off to a good start.

Are you ready for this new competitive health insurance environment? Addison can help make your marketplace messages clear and customer-focused. We know how to turn pain points into positive touch points, and turn awkward documents into compelling communications. Contact us today to learn more