Defining Priorities for State Health Insurance Exchanges

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<p>Across the country, state policymakers and federal regulators are working out the details of establishing new health insurance exchanges, which will help families and small businesses purchase coverage, with federal subsidies available for many. Enrolling up to 30 million individuals and small business employees by 2020 will be a significant operational undertaking for states. </p>
<p>But the exchanges can also serve as tools for reforming the health system even further. In a new <a href="/blog/2011/reality-check-defining-expectations-state-health-insurance-exchanges">blog post</a>, Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher Koller calls on the designers of the exchanges to clarify and prioritize the additional goals for the exchanges, such as reforming health care delivery, setting and enforcing performance standards for health insurers, and stimulating insurers to enter local markets. </p>
<p>If policymakers try to make exchanges meet too many expectations too quickly, Koller says, the exchanges will be less able to fulfill their core functions. </p>
<p>"It is incumbent upon state leaders to acknowledge the opportunities and limitations of the exchange's potential as they work with community stakeholders, and not shrink from the responsibility of describing these realities," Koller says. "Using the exchange planning process to educate one another and develop public consensus on the desired structure of local and regional public and private insurance markets may be our greatest hope and opportunity." </p>
<p>Read the complete post on <a href="/blog/2011/reality-check-defining-expectations-state-health-insurance-exchanges">The Commonwealth Fund Blog</a>. <br /></p>