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Setting Up a Health Insurance Exchange

September 18, 2012
A health care consumer asks questions about her prescription drug plan.

With so much uncertainty currently plaguing the Affordable Care Act, it's been difficult so far to fully grasp how the federal legislation will affect Georgia families. By November 16, however, state officials will need to inform the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services whether Georgia plans to establish its own health insurance exchange, a decision that will at last offer some clarity about the ACA's implementation.

If the state opts to set up its own exchange, it will pre-approve health care plans that cover the medical expenses that ACA requires, set up a Web site to share information about insurance plans, and employ a staff to help health care consumers as they shop for insurance. With this support, consumers will be able to compare insurance policies and enroll in coverage online, in person, by phone, fax or mail.

While the fate of ACA remains unclear in these months leading up to the presidential election, the state's decision yea or nay to set up its own exchange will play a significant role in which health insurance plans consumers get access to and ultimately select for their medical coverage.

To learn more about the ACA and state-run health care exchanges, read the Senate Research Office's At Issue: State Roles in Implementing Health Insurance Exchangesor visit Georgia's Health Care Reform site.