Learn About the Affordable Care Act

Exchanges

By 2014 every state must have a Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange). An exchange is not an insurer. It will work to:

  • Help people find the right insurance for them
  • Improve the quality of insurance that is offered
  • Lower the cost of coverage

An exchange will be an online market. All insurance offered will include the essential health benefits package. On the exchange website you can:

  • Compare private health plans
  • Calculate actual costs after considering tax credits or other help
  • Buy the private plan that best meets your needs
  • See if you qualify for programs such as Medicaid and CHIP
  • Enroll and update your account if you have Medicare or Medicaid
  • Prove you are exempt from the insurance requirement for financial hardship, religious belief, etc.

Insurers will not be required to participate. Those who do must have a strategy to improve your quality of care. The insurer’s strategy must include giving incentives to providers who:

  • Improve health outcomes
  • Lower hospital readmissions
  • Improve patient safety and reduce medical errors
  • Have wellness and health promotion activities
  • Do community outreach, use translators if needed, and train providers about dealing with cultural differences

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