A Marketplace Odyssey: Countdown to October 1 (54 Days)

This is the third post in an ACHP blog series tracking health policy updates before open enrollment begins Oct. 1.

Fifty-four days remain until the launch of open enrollment – one day for every percent of Americans that opposes the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to May polls. While details about rates, deadlines and navigator programs have not necessarily become clearer, resources to track them have. Here we profile some pages worth a scan for your ACA check-up.

Uninsured by neighborhood: What effect will health reform have on insurance locally? The Kaiser Family Foundation created interactive maps showing changes in Medicaid and coverage by area and demographics.

Rate my exchange: Insurance rates are going up or down in this fall’s exchanges or staying the same, depending on whom you ask. As the pieces of the premium puzzle come together, the context of cost predictions may be more important than the numbers themselves.

– A Health Affairs blog offers five reasons for the massive rate variation we have been reading about.

– Kaiser Health News updates publicly released rate information by state and advises on smartly interpreting confusing information about costs (bottom line: The changes will be less dramatic than consumers may fear).

Getting the ball enrolling:  As if Washington’s August humidity is not enough, White House officials are sweating tight deadlines to get the uninsured enrolled. The Wall Street Journal outlines the federal navigator grants mobilizing community groups nationwide to help the exchanges open smoothly. A recent study shows that only 14 percent of Americans understand basic insurance terms. Like rates, navigator programs look different in every state. The marketplace enrollment website now invites users to start the process in advance by registering for an account.

Treat your confusion: Some physicians may be wary of its self-diagnosis tools, but as of this week WebMD offers a comprehensive set of health reform resources for consumers. Highlights include a health care cost calculator, state-specific answers and an infographic illustrating the costs of staying uninsured.

 -Sophie Schwadron
  ACHP Intern