In less than 9 months, big changes will be coming to the individual insurance market. Under the Affordable Care Act, the new “Exchanges” will begin open enrollment on October 1. What’s starting now is a major education blitz to make sure the American public is aware of this new option and will sign up when the time comes. Step one, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sibelius has started referring to the “exchange” as the “marketplace.” This, no doubt, is in recognition that the word used in the Affordable Care Act probably generates more questions than it answers. Several media outlets are starting on the education bandwagon.
About 1000 people living with HIV/AIDS are expected to purchase insurance in North Carolina’s new marketplace.
The Associated Press explains how subsidies work on the exchange and introduces a Massachusetts resident who has been insured for 5 years through the Massachusetts version of the exchange, the “Health Connector.”
Each state will roll out its own version of the “exchange.” The Affordable Care Act requires robust consumer assistance programs to help educate people about new coverage opportunities. In North Carolina, the Department of Insurance is working with the federal government on design of the consumer education and assistance programs. In the coming months, look for a website, call center, and expansion of the DOI’s existing consumer assistance programs.