As a follow-up to Obamacare, insurance exchanges are being set up in 13 different states. The exchanges are developed as a means for people to shop for coverage when they do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid and do not have coverage through their job.
States have been grappling with what to call the insurance exchanges because many consumers either do not find the language attractive or do not understand what it means.
In practice, consumers would go online and find private insurance options that meet federal coverage standards and low-income Americans could apply for tax subsidies to cover the cost of premiums.
The new insurance exchanges will cover up to 25 million Americans. Participating states are also having difficulty updating their computer systems to manage the traffic, information, and processing of the programs.
If one of the biggest problems is persuading people to use the system once it is in place, branding and user interface come to the forefront. Many government sites provide extraordinary amounts of information and some can make life much easier. Although the sites provide plenty of info, they are not known for being the easiest to navigate or the most attractive.
Insurance companies already have difficulty convincing consumers that they are trustworthy organizations. Having an insurance exchange that is not well thought out, will exacerbate that problem and fail to serve the 25 million Americans the site is built for.
Plenty of focus group testing has been conducted, finding that the present options are not as attractive to Americans as hoped. Terms that pointed to ‘Health’ and ‘Choice’ were viewed skeptically and were not drawing highly-positive results.
States that are trying to avoid establishing these exchanges may wind up being outmaneuvered by Washington, DC as they begin to set the exchanges up for the balking states.