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Policies Give States More Flexibility to Establish Affordable Insurance Exchanges

On March 12, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its new policies to assist states in building Affordable Insurance Exchanges. Starting in 2014, these one-stop market places will allow consumers and small businesses to choose a private health insurance plan and offer the public the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress.

The policies provide states with the guidance and certainty they need as they continue to work to build these marketplaces for their residents for operation in 2014. The policies offer guidance about the options on how to structure Exchanges in two key areas:
- Setting standards for establishing Exchanges, setting up a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), performing the basic functions of an Exchange and certifying health plans for participation in the Exchange; and
- Establishing a streamlined, web based system for consumers to apply for and enroll in qualified health plans and insurance affordability programs.

The final rule builds on the flexibility and resources provided by HHS already to build state-based Exchanges.

Written by Pulse

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