The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a list of 10 facts healthcare providers "need to know" about the online health insurance exchanges coming next month.
- The exchanges are "a new way to shop for health coverage," and allow customers to compare private insurance plans in terms of cost, quality and benefits.
- Each state will have its own marketplace--some of these will be run by the state, others by the federal government and others by a partnership between the two.
- Open enrollment in the exchanges will last from Oct. 1 through March 31, 2014; coverage will begin as early as Jan. 1, 2014.
- Most plans offered through the exchanges will provide basic services including emergency services, maternity/newborn care, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services and devices, hospitalization, pediatric services and ambulatory patient services.
- Any U.S. citizen or national who is not currently incarcerated is eligible to buy insurance through the exchanges.
- Discrimination on the basis of gender or pre-existing condition is not allowed within the exchange marketplace.
- Exchange participants may qualify for tax credits depending on their household income and the size of their families.
- Participants will be able to choose a plan from four categories: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The categories are distinguished by the average percentage of costs they cover. Stand-alone dental plans and catastrophic plans will be offered as well.
- Participants can find out through the HealthCare.gov website whether they are eligible for Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Plan or assistance with a private plan offered through the exchanges.
- Further information and resources are available through Marketplace.cms.gov, HealthCare.gov and the Health Insurance Marketplace Call Center.
The complete list is available here.