Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Health Reform Technology Problem

In the hubbub surrounding the Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), experts warn America is overlooking another part of the law destined to cause headaches: State health insurance exchanges and the information technology needed to run them.

The PPACA forces states to create health insurance exchanges – one-stop shops where individuals can compare health insurance plans that best fit their needs if they don’t get coverage through their employer. Health plans in the exchanges offer central health benefits and cannot deny coverage because of health status. Exchanges will be open to almost anyone in 2014.

Politico reports trouble is on the horizon if the health law stays intact and states begin to build health insurance exchanges. The exchanges require that multiple state-based enrollment systems communicate with a new federal database that determines eligibility. But for most states, these systems don’t speak the same language. States may have to invest a lot of money to update their computer systems or risk ceding control of their health insurance exchange to the federal government.

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