Online platform provides states a free model for exchanges

A coalition of 18 states has released a free online platform for setting up health insurance exchanges as required by the Affordable Care Act--Enroll UX2014--as organizations continue work to meet its mandates, the Washington Post reports. With the health-care law's tight deadlines, "there's no reason to leave this very important subject up to political vagaries and budget shortfalls," Mark Smith, president of the California Healthcare Foundation, which organized the effort, told the newspaper.

The coalition includes states such as New York and Washington that support the legislation, as well as Republican-controlled states that don't, including Kansas, New Mexico, Alabama and Tennessee, according to the Post.

Ideo, a global design and innovations firm tasked with the research and design effort, interviewed consumers in three states to understand their experiences with health insurance enrollment, as well as policy and industry experts to create a platform that could be flexible and streamlined as necessary by the individual states, according to an announcement.

"It saves our staff a ton of time not having to come up with this in advance," Richard Fiore, executive director of the Alabama Health Insurance Exchange, told the Post. Alabama is one of 26 states challenging the healthcare law.

It's unclear whether the legislation as a whole, or in part, will stand up in court, but it likely would improve the insurance benefits offered under individual insurance plans, according to a study published recently in Health Affairs.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post article
- check out the CMS announcement
- read the Enroll UX2014 announcement
- here's the Health Affairs study abstract

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