Utah Health Insurance Exchange Ready to Launch

Utah Health Insurance Coverage
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Along with back to school shopping, Utahns will be able to shop for health insurance online beginning August 19, 2009. The Utah Health Exchange is a website where Utah residents and business owners can shop, compare, and buy health insurance plans.

Utah’s new health insurance exchange is only the second of its kind in the United States. Massachusetts was the first to institute this type of approach to affordable health insurance.

Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., signed the Utah Health Exchange into law in March. The health insurance model was created by HB188, and it is one of four health reform bills in Utah designed to improve affordability, help the state progress toward cost containment, and make health care more accessible to nearly 300,000 people.

According to the Utah Health Exchange website, the Exchange “will connect consumers to information they need to make an informed choice, and in many cases, allow them to execute that choice electronically.”

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The three main functions of the Utah Health Exchange are to provide consumers with:

* Helpful information about their health care and financing of that care
* A convenient way to compare and choose a health insurance policy that meets their families’ needs
* A standardized electronic application and enrollment process

For employers, the HB188 provides them with an option of depositing money into their workers’ health savings accounts rather than just paying part of their premium. This allows consumers to purchase any health insurance plan that they want.

On August 19, the Utah Health Exchange will begin enrolling up to 150 small employer groups (those who employ 2 to 50 workers) who plan to offer this new option to their workers. According to the Exchange’s website, this new model offers relief to employers who will no longer need to bear the full burden of running a health insurance plan for their workers.

For more information about this new way to shop for health insurance in Utah, you can visit the website at www.exchange.utah.gov.

SOURCES:
An Overview of the Utah Health Exchange website
Salt Lake Tribune 8/10/09

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