Whole of Alabama could be covered by health insurance plans
The entirety of Alabama is expected to be covered by the state’s health insurance exchange when it becomes operational at the beginning of 2014. The state’s exchange system is to be managed by the federal government, but state officials have been fielding proposals from health insurance companies concerning the policies that will be available through the exchange. Several of these insurers have come forward with expansive health insurance plans, with a few even offering to provide coverage to the entirety of the state.
Large insurers offer to provide statewide coverage
Both Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and United Healthcare have submitted proposals for statewide coverage plans. These plans would adhere to federal and state regulations and would be available to all Alabama residents through the state’s health insurance exchange. Humana, another one of the state’s large insurance providers, is offering plans that would cover 50 of the state’s 67 counties. Currently, Alabama is better off in terms of exchange-based coverage than its neighbor, Mississippi, where 40% of the state has yet to be covered by plans offered through its exchange.
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health insurance exchange coverageAlabama has not marketed exchange thus far
The state has opted not to build or manage its own health insurance exchange, leaving the matter to the federal government. As such, the state has not accepted any money that could be used to form the exchange or promote the services that it offers. This could create a problem when the exchange begins open enrollment in October of this year as many consumers are unaware of the coverage options they have through the exchange program. The federal government will have to raise awareness, but how effective its efforts will be are a dubious subject.
Plans subject to state and federal approval
State officials have not yet announced what proposals coming from insurers have been approved. The plans being offered to the exchange must be approved by state regulators before they can be legally sold through the exchange. The plans also face scrutiny from the federal government. If these plans are not approved by federal officials, they will not be offered through the health insurance exchange.