Should be a top priority for state policy leaders. State implementation plans for these exchanges – online marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can compare and purchase private, subsidized health insurance – must be in place by January 2013. If individual states are not able to demonstrate that implementation is well under way, the federal government will operate the exchange for localities.
Arizona has yet to pass legislation outlining how an Arizona exchange might be designed, governed and implemented. The Governor’s Office is seeking required public input via an online survey on some of the critical exchange-related policy decisions. To date, this consumer engagement process appears to be primarily yielding input from the insurance agent/producer community.
SLHI has a broader vision of what consumer engagement and a consumer-focused insurance exchange should look like. Take a look at our recent report on the strengths and weaknesses of the two exchange bills introduced last legislative session. Then take the survey yourself and encourage others to take it as well. We are planning a forum on this issue for the fall to further inform Arizonans about the important policy choices we need to address.
The clock is ticking. National estimates suggest that more than 740,000 Arizonans may eventually rely on the health insurance exchange for their coverage — assuming federal health reform isn’t struck down by the courts. The time for real consumer engagement is now.