Dramatic changes in the health insurance market have occurred as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Change continues with the creation of the Health Benefit Exchange (referred to as “Exchanges”), open for enrollment October 1, 2013. Exchanges are a new mechanism for purchasing health insurance coverage. Think of the Exchange as a travel website, such as Travelocity, essentially a web portal created so you can shop and compare insurance plans. The Exchange is one stop shopping with “apples to apples” comparisons. Exchanges will create a more organized and competitive market and will primarily serve smaller employers in Iowa and Iowans who will be purchasing insurance on their own.
Iowa is currently setting up its Exchange, and public input is wanted! You can have a voice in creating and planning by participating in a consumer survey from the Iowa Department of Public Health, which is part of the interagency work group responsible for planning and implementing the Affordable Care Act in Iowa. Developed with the University of Iowa Public Policy Center and College of Public Health, the intent of the survey is to gather consumer preferences for purchasing health insurance, receiving information, and desirable features and content on the Exchange.
The information gathered will be valuable in designing the Exchange and targeting the education and outreach in Iowa. You can access the survey at http://iowahealthinsurancesurvey.com/. A factsheet that gives more detail on what the health benefit exchange is can be accessed here: http://marketplace.cms.gov/GetOfficialResources/Publications-and-articles/about-the-marketplace-english.pdf
Suzanne Bartholomae, Ph.D.
ISU Extension State Specialist, Family Finance
Thanks to Suzanne for this guest post! We encourage everyone to improve the process by taking the survey!