What is the exchange?
The Exchange is the market place for comparing insurance coverage effective 10/1/13. It will list all the carriers who will be offering coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or aka – Obamacare).
Why is the exchange so important?
The exchange is where those who qualify for a subsidy will go to purchase health insurance. At this point, there will only be 3 insurance companies on the exchange. Plan details for those companies have
not been approved by the NC Department of Insurance just yet. The NC Department of Insurance has approved the plans each carrier has submitted. We do know that there will be a number of choices from those 3 companies, so North Carolinians will have a wide selection of plans to review. As of 8/29/13, two carriers have released the number of plans they will offer (26 from one company, and 25 from another). However, the details on the plans have not been released to the public.
Will I need to use the exchange?
It depends. For those who qualify for a subsidy, you will have to buy coverage on the NC health exchange to get the subsidy. For those who make above the 400% of the Federal Poverty Limits, you will have to buy “off” the exchange. Carriers who offer plans on and off the exchange must offer the exact same plans on and off. Some carriers in North Carolina will only offer plans “off” the exchange. Again, at this point, the NC Department of Insurance has not approved any plan/premium for any of the carriers in North Carolina, so we do not have details of these plans just yet.
Wow, this is confusing…
It is! There will be a number of moving parts to this and each person’s situation will be different. Below is a flow chart that will help you understand the flow of the NC health exchange (click on the image to view clearer).