Connecticut’s health insurance exchange is intended to extend coverage to the uninsured, small businesses, and individuals buying their own plans. But, Kevin Counihan, CEO of Connecticut’s exchange, Access Health, recently stated that the exchange could serve others, too. According to Counihan, changes in the health insurance market could mean that the exchanges may soon become relevant to those individuals who get coverage through their employers, calling it the “401K-ing of health insurance.” Similarly to companies transitioning from offering pensions with benefits to giving employees a fixed amount of money to invest for retirement, companies may approach health benefits by giving employees a fixed amount of money and then allowing them to buy what they want on the exchange.
In order for this change to take place, health insurance exchanges, both private and publicly run, must exist and allow customers to comparison-shop. However, individuals will need to be well educated about all their options so that they can make the best decisions. Connecticut’s exchange, Access Health, is currently developing an All-Payer Claims Database, a tool meant to help consumers learn about health insurance costs and quality.
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