Will The Exchanges Start On Time?

Graphic used with permission from Kaiser Health News

The PPACA promised  that you would be able to purchase health insurance, regardless of your health through the new exchanges starting on January 1, 2014.

The current administration has had a hard time fulfilling the desires of congress.  Approximately 25% of the mandates that are in the PPACA have either been delayed or ignored.  The exchanges may be the latest.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has vowed that the exchanges will be ready by October of next year.  However, they are finding out that building a viable exchange is more complicated than just building a web site.   Below are just a few of the “challenges” that must be overcome.

  • State run exchanges must be approved by state legislatures.  Only a handful of state legislatures have approved plans for an exchange.  Many are waiting until after the November elections.  In addition, many state legislatures only meet every other year.  Some legislatures will not meet again until after the January 1, 2014 deadline.  Those states have no choice but to accept the exchange being built by HHS.
  • Each state already has its own insurance laws.  Any federal exchange must comply with those laws.  The latest intelligence I have found indicates that if the exchanges started today, over 35 states would have to use a federal exchange.  That means that HHS would have to build over 35 versions.
  • The PPACA requires “Navigators” to help people understand how to enroll in an exchange.  Those “Navigators” need to be trained before the national enrollment begins.  As of today, the process of choosing “Navigators” has not even started.

In an ideal world, the exchanges will be ready to go and “Navigators” trained to help those who are not comfortable doing business on the computer.   However, the track record of delays for implementing the PPACA is not good.  I am not willing to bet that the exchanges will happen on time.

Click the photo to learn more about why the exchanges may be delayed another year.