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Explaining Health Care Reform: Questions About Health Insurance Exchanges

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), signed into law in March 2010, made broad changes to the way health insurance will be provided and paid for in the United States. PPACA created a new mechanism for purchasing coverage called Exchanges, which are entities that will be set up in states to create a more organized and competitive market for health insurance by offering a choice of health plans, establishing common rules regarding the offering and pricing of insurance, and providing information to help consumers better understand the options available to them. Initially Exchanges will serve primarily individuals purchasing insurance on their own and smaller employers; states will have the option of opening Exchanges to larger employers a few years after implementation.

This summary provides responses to questions about the purpose and function of Exchanges and how they relate to regulation of the insurance market.

Brief (.pdf)

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.