Defining a Health Insurance Exchange

Defining a Health Insurance Exchange

One interesting mandate in the recent health reform acts is the implementation of a health insurance exchange in each state. According to President Obama, a health insurance exchange is to be a place where American citizens can shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose which plan is best for them. The insurance plans marketed on the health insurance exchange would ideally not deny individuals coverage based on pre-existing conditions, protect Americans from catastrophic medical costs, should all include basic benefits, including preventive services.

Congress hopes that a health insurance exchange will promote transparency and accountability within the health insurance industry. This would occur because information on the many different health insurance plans from many different health insurance companies would be publicly displayed on the health insurance exchange. Customers would then be able to compare plans side-by-side. A health insurance exchange should objectively and impartially provide information for consumers using simple language that is easy to understand. Some people have suggested that the search results be randomized so that there is no alphabetical preferential treatment. In other words, if the search results are alphabetical every time, Aetna will always be seen much earlier than United Healthcare. This is not objective and impartial.

A health insurance exchange will not function as an