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What is a State Health Insurance Exchange?

State health insurance exchanges are part of the Affordable Care Act rollout. States either implemented their own state run health exchange or they have opted to let the federal government create the exchange for them. Some states have also partnered with other states or the federal government to create a hybrid type of exchange. Your health insurance exchange might also be called a health insurance marketplace.

There is a lot of flexibility in the Affordable Care Act that gives individual states options for how to run their exchange. As a result, many states who have taken it upon themselves to craft an exchange have opted to find the best way to present insurance options to residents of the state. In this sense, you can see how the health insurance exchange is like an online market. You can shop for plans, compare plans against one another, and learn more about the implementation of healthcare reform.

The goals of health insurance marketplaces are to provide you with options and empower your decision making. The purpose of having them online is that it makes it easier for you to read through all the coverage options. In the past, insurance has been difficult to purchase because of the variety of fine print and challenges in understanding all the small nuances of a policy. Hoping to eliminate some of those problems, which led people to forego insurance entirely or to select a plan that did not really meet their most critical needs, state insurance exchanges try to present information in a clear and helpful manner.

On your state’s health insurance exchange, you can review all the plans that fit your application. All plans are required to provide some basic services, but you’ll want to ensure that you have found a plan that best suits your needs when it comes to premium costs, co-pays, and deductibles. You might have to do some shopping around to identify the best plan for you and your family, but the health insurance exchange makes that easier. You can clearly see what sets one plan apart from another, giving you the opportunity to narrow down your choices to a handful of plans. If you need more help or information, it’s available, but many people have been able to research and select the best plan for them simply by going online. New enrollment for 2015 opens in November- have you gotten coverage yet?