The appearance on Wednesday was specifically designed to give the marketplace positive push.
Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, made an appearance in Chicago, yesterday, in order to launch the rebranded health insurance exchanges as coverage “marketplaces”.
Under this new term, the state level online resources will still be providing the same services.
A central element of the healthcare reform law that was first implemented in 2010, these health insurance exchanges are meant to provide individuals and small businesses with an online location where they can compare plans and shop for them.
The health insurance exchanges are coming ever nearer to being fully operational in a few months.
These sites are meant to be fully operational by October 1, 2013, in order to allow for open enrollment so that the small businesses and individuals will be able to purchase the coverage that they require to start on January 1, 2014, when the healthcare law goes into full effect. State and federal officials have been making considerable efforts to help to boost awareness about these exchanges.
They are seeking to ensure that individuals and small businesses know what options are available to them, that they can find the best coverage for the most affordable price, and that they will boost the use of the marketplaces, which will help them to function more effectively.
As of yet, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 17 states and the District of Columbia have passed their health insurance exchange legislation. In Illinois, the marketplace will be operated jointly between the state and the federal government. It is estimated that it will assist 486,000 people to obtain coverage within the first year. After 2015, the state will take over full control of the exchange from the federal government.
Yesterday, Sebelius made an appearance at the Erie Family Health Center, a West Side community clinic, alongside Governor Pat Quinn. Her appearance followed the day after the State of the Union Address was made by President Obama in Washington D.C. The appearance marked an important transition that is being made by the HHS.
Though it had used the term “exchange” for many months, the HHS has now switched to the term “Health Insurance Marketplace” in order to help to boost awareness and understanding about what these online resources provide.