What the Heck is an Exchange?

I received an email this week wherein the writer asked for help understanding what a health insurance exchange is, specifically, the differences and similarities between state, federal and private exchanges. My answer was “it depends on who is asking and who is answering.” The word exchange has been bandied about in many circles, by many different people, and with great frequency since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. Most of us act as if we know exactly what it means when, in actuality, the meaning is determined by the person using the term…
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Affordable Care Act: Open Enrollment 2014

Recent court rulings in Washington, D.C. and Virginia will make the upcoming open enrollment period in Florida and 35 other states that opted to allow the federal government to run their exchanges more interesting. The issue in question is whether a federally operated exchange can grant tax credits that are intended to make the purchase of Obamacare coverage affordable for those that qualify. I am not an attorney so don’t expect me to give a legal analysis of the various claims and rulings. But the next open enrollment period at healthcare.gov starts November 15 and no attorney I’ve talked to…
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Employer-Based Coverage: Where is My Crystal Ball?

A rumble of conversation seems to be growing around the topic of employer-based health insurance. Not that there is agreement among the conversers, but surely the Affordable Care Act is having an impact on the employer group markets – large and small? Let’s see how the following influences your thoughts on the subject: By the numbers – A study called “Why Not Just Eliminate the Employer Mandate?” was recently published by the Urban Institute. One of its conclusions about the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that it won’t be very helpful in increasing overall insurance coverage…
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CHIP On or Off the Block?

Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) will dry up September 2015 unless Congress appropriates funds to continue the popular health care program for kids. Administered by the states with a generous match rate, state and federal CHIP funding combined cover about 8 million children nationwide. In Florida, 287,000 children are covered through a multi-program, multi-agency program known as Florida KidCare, the cognomen for the state’s CHIP program. A bill was filed recently by Senator Rockefeller that would extend federal funding for CHIP until 2019. With implementation of the Affordable Care Act, will federal funding continue and are…
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