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10-15-12: Navigating the Exchange
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In 2014, when the federal health reform law fully kicks in, people who don’t have health insurance will need to find a way to get it.
The state of Maryland is busily building an online marketplace where they could buy it – a “health benefit exchange.” An exchange acts kind of like Expedia, but instead of airlines and hotels, it allows people to choose from a variety of insurance plans. Open enrollment starts a year from now – October 2013. There was a meeting of the board of the exchange last week--you can see the notes here, and there's a screenshot from their PowerPoint at the right.
It was all a little over our heads--stick figures and all--so we turned to Jay Hancock to help us make sense of it. He's a former Baltimore Sun business columnist, now a senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News.
One group that will be competing on this exchange is Evergreen, which just received a $65 million loan to start an insurance “CO-OP,” or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan. Evergreen was founded by Dr. Peter Beilenson, who's leaving his job as Howard County Health Officer to run Evergreen full-time.
Dr. Beilenson is also the author of a new book Tapping into The Wire: The Real Urban Crisis, which uses the television series to discuss public health issues. He talks with Sheilah about both Evergreen and the book.
For more clarification on the exchange, we recommend checking out a Maryland Morning piece from Bruce Wallace, which he reported when health care reform was first passed by Congress. It sheds some light on how it all works.