In March of 2010, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law with the intention of creating reforms that would hold insurance companies more accountable, lower health care costs, guarantee more health care choices, provide equal access to all people and enhance the quality of health care for all Americans. A few of the provisions in the PPACA are minimum standards for health insurance policies being established, annual and lifetime coverage caps being banned and subsidies for very small businesses who purchase insurance through the Health Insurance Exchange.
One of the most significant provisions in the PPACA is the Health Insurance Exchange. It created a new competitive private health insurance market which is run through the health insurance exchange and gives millions of Americans and small businesses the same insurance options that members of Congress currently have. Among the numerous benefits of the Health Insurance Exchange, a few are:
- Lower insurance costs – These exchanges are aimed at increasing competition among private insurance plans through greater comparative shopping and creating more informed consumers. They also are meant to provide small businesses the same purchasing power in Exchanges as large businesses. This competition will effectively lower insurance costs and force many insurance companies to offer affordable and quality plans.
- Ease of insurance plan choice – The Health Insurance Exchanges strives to make purchasing health insurance easier by providing eligible consumers and businesses with tools to compare benefits, pricing and quality. This streamlines the process of choosing a health insurance plan and better educates potential plan holders on which plan may be right for them. Americans who choose to use them will also have access to a wide range of customer assistance benefits – including information about prices, quality, and physician and hospital networks – to help make the best choice for themselves, their families, or their employees.
- Better Benefits and Protections – These Exchanges create a health insurance marketplace that allows employers and consumers to choose from plans offering high quality benefits. Individuals and families purchasing health insurance through Exchanges may also qualify for tax credits and reduced cost-sharing depending on their income. The benefits and protections are meant to help all kinds of citizens who need different types of health insurance plans.
The PPACA and the Health Insurance Exchange were both designed to improve the health insurance industry and help those who often go uninsured. However, no one is truly an expert on the new PPACA bill and many people are still waiting to see what the outcome of this bill may be and what effects it will truly have on the health insurance industry.
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