On July 11 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the proposed rules for Affordable Insurance Exchanges that would allow states to operate health insurance marketplaces, where consumers could compare and shop for different insurance plans. Sebelius said that states would have the flexibility to design their own exchanges and there was no “one-size-fits-all solution.”
Massachusetts got an early start, enacting its insurance exchange, Massachusetts Health Connector, as a part of its health reform law in 2006. In 2010, about 98 percent of Massachusetts residents had health insurance, including 99.8 percent of the state’s children. Much of its coverage provisions, like subsidized coverage options for people with low and moderate incomes, became the basis of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), enacted in March 2010. In February HHS awarded $241 million in “Early Innovator” grants to Kansas, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin, and a multi-state consortium led by the University of Massachusetts Medical School to pioneer IT infrastructure around health insurance exchanges. In this podcast, Massachusetts Health Connector’s CIO Scott Devonshire spoke with Associate Editor Jennifer Prestigiacomo about what other exchanges can learn from his exchange’s experiences.
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