Some people see the implementation of health insurance exchanges as being a key component in health care reform. The reason for this is that health insurance exchanges give consumers options.
For example, if you receive your health care benefits through your employer, you basically only have two options. You either enroll in the plan chosen for you, or you do not enroll in that plan. There are not a lot of other options available to you. If you decide to not enroll in your employer-sponsored group health plan, then you have to navigate the private insurance market. This can be a complicated process. Also, in this market, the health insurance carriers have all of the power, and will deny or approve your application based on your health.
In the future, health insurance exchange will do a lot to alleviate some of those problems. Health insurance carriers will be prohibited from basing premiums or approval on pre-existing medical conditions. New health insurance policies in the future will have a standard required comprehensive set of benefits. More importantly, all of these plans, policies, and companies will list their information on health insurance exchanges. Consumers will go to these health insurance exchanges and will be able to find a wide array of competing insurance companies, and their competing plans. Health insurance exchanges will provide easy access to compare benefit levels, included and excluded services, network restrictions, and premium costs. A consumer will not have to go to each different company’s web site, but will instead find all of the information available on health insurance exchanges. Of course, that is what insurance brokers do right now, but many people do not know they can use insurance brokers to provide all of this information, plus excellent customer service. Health insurance exchanges in the future will serve the same function as an insurance broker does now.
Because many people will use health insurance exchanges to find a health insurance policy, they may allow for quantity group discounts on their policies, which will mean more leverage and buying power for the consumer. When health insurance exchanges promote competition among companies, more consumer power, lower prices, higher quality, and better service is often a result. This in turn will result in more individuals purchasing health insurance plans through health insurance exchanges, and a productive cycle of customer service and better health care will take place.
At this time, health insurance exchange has not been fully formed and is not fully functioning. Some examples of health insurance exchanges have existed in Massachusetts and Utah, so many future health insurance exchanges will be based on their model, and that of New York’s health insurance exchange. Many people are looking forward to the positive health care reform results that health insurance exchanges should have. Health insurance exchanges will start out serving the self-employed and individuals, but eventually, they may offer competition for even employer-sponsored group health plans. The idea of health insurance exchanges, however, is that people who want better health care options will be able to find better health care plans