You might recall that health insurance exchanges are supposed to be the be all end all in the future. However, they might not be when all is said and done.
The whole idea behind health insurance exchanges, when they were added as part and parcel of the health care reform package, was that they would eventually regulate the health insurance market as a whole. They would have affordable health insurance for everyone, the cheapest plans, best competition and would provide quality standard information to all. The “all” literally meaning every American, as by 2014 it is mandated that everyone have health insurance or be fined.
Sure, health exchanges might sound like a good idea on the surface, and at some point, they may well be. However, there are some serious issues with these exchanges; issues that may become roadblocks later. The first one would be the way they are structured; meaning the way they would be set up would be under a watchful federal eye. They would have some guidelines in place, but the nitty gritty details would ultimately be left to each state.
There is nothing quite like trying to create something in a vacuum with no clear guidance. Thus, the states have a “deer in the lights look” about them, because they do not quite know what to do to set one up. Do they do it themselves or hire it out? Do they ask the feds to do it? Will they meet their deadlines? Who knows the answers to any of these questions? One thing is for sure, the people ostensibly in charge of these health insurance exchanges do not know what to do, when to do it and how to do it, which is rather counterintuitive to say the least.
Problem number two may be how the exchanges are administered. That would be because the platform they are to use to run the thing would be funded by the feds, but governed by the locals. This means that if someone does not clearly spell out who does what, when, where and why, there are going to be major jurisdictional issues.
Here is something else that many people just assume to be the case, and that would include the feds and locals – that everyone has computer access. If you live under a bridge, you typically do not have computer access or know how to use one. Since most states seem to want to opt for an online regulated health insurance platform, how will those without computer access get health insurance? More to the point actually is how will those without homes, or without any income, afford health insurance or the fine they are supposed to pay if they do not have it?
While health insurance exchanges are a great idea on the surface, do a bit of digging and there are some serious issues that will need to be dealt with for anything to run properly. Will that happen? Your guess is as good as ours.
Clelland Green is with Benepath.com, a leader in providing health insurance quotes. Benepath provides individuals, families, and businesses with affordable health insurance quotes in just a few mouse clicks. To learn more, visit http://www.benepath.com.