We are less than six months away from a major shift in the way consumers and small-business owners shop for healthcare insurance. On October 1, 2013, enrollment begins for the state insurance exchanges, as prescribed in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While the goal of the exchanges is to allow the currently insured and uninsured to have access to a competitive marketplace for shopping for coverage – there are concerns that this major change will initially be confusing for patients and potentially affect insurance premiums. The President and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met with leaders in the insurance industry on Friday, April 12th, to discuss the upcoming changes. Ongoing resources are being disseminated to help patients navigate the new marketplace. Healthcare providers can ease this transition by helping directing patients to published information and resources on how best to navigate the new system.
Below is a direct excerpt from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Fee-For Service Provider e-News letter, issued Thursday April 18, 2013:
Prepare to Help Your Patients Navigate the New Health Insurance Marketplace on October 1
Starting in October, 2013, individuals, families, and small-business owners in every state will be able to shop in the new Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as the Exchanges) for private insurance coverage that begins January 1, 2014. A recent article in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association), “Connecting to Health Insurance Coverage“ by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh and CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner provides key information about the new healthcare landscape. For many patients to fully benefit in this new environment, they will need the guidance of their most trusted health sources. Prepare now to connect people to coverage and make a lasting difference in the health of our nation.