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Health Exchanges: 7 Things to Know

Women presents on health exchanges

Health exchanges are one of the media’s most beloved topics today with many opening this week. Like the idea or not, health insurance exchanges are garnering plenty of attention and rhetoric – and with so many opinions on the matter, it’s easy to feel bombarded and confused about all that’s happening. In an effort to help clear the air, we’ve compiled an overview on these exchanges.

  1. A health exchange serves two main purposes:
    • Provides opt-in consumers with an online marketplace to compare and buy health insurance plans.
    • Lets people know if they qualify for government assistance when it comes to affording health care.
  2. Each state will have its own insurance exchange.
  3. In addition to the above, exchanges hope to provide a more intuitive and consumer-friendly way to shop for insurance plans. From people available to guide you through a plan’s specifics in real-time to less fine print, one aim is to make the process of selecting health insurance more straightforward.
  4. Exchanges will benefit those with low to modest incomes most in the form of subsidized health care costs. For example, certain people will be eligible for tax credits to reduce monthly premiums. These subsidies are available on a sliding scale contingent on your income.
  5. Though it’s now widely applicable to most plans outside of exchanges, individuals with pre-existing conditions won’t be denied or forced to pay more for in-exchange coverage.
  6. All in-exchange plans will be required to cover a list of “essential benefits,” from lab and pediatric services to mental health care and behavioral health treatments.
  7. While exchanges are slated to open this week, most won’t be fully operational for weeks or even months. For example, some state exchanges aren’t even allowing people to sign up for health coverage online without assistance beforehand.

While we’re certainly not experts when it comes to health exchanges, we’re always hopeful when it comes to initiatives around making health care more affordable to more people. Regardless of whether exchanges are able to successfully accomplish what they’ve set out to do, we’re committed to following their impact closely and learning from how they play out. GiveForward was born out of the idea of helping thousands of individuals struggling to pay their medical bills, and in an effort to continue to be part of the solution; we’ll remain steadfastly committed to more thoroughly understanding the problem.

For more information on the health exchanges, we’d definitely recommend exploring the pros and cons of exchanges on your own. Here’s a great place to start!

For more information on GiveForward and fundraising for medical bills

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