Public and Private Exchanges
What are the differences?
Public Exchanges are built and run by State or Federal Governments while Private Exchanges are generally built and run by insurers or brokers. They both offer an on-line marketplace for individuals and small businesses to purchase health plans. Thanks to new healthcare reform, all of the plans, either in a public or private exchange, should contain the same essential benefits and very similar rates.
Some other common elements the two exchanges share are:
-They promote a user friendly environment where consumers or small employers and can instantly compare several different plans and rates.
-Can apply for coverage online.
-Easy payment portal.
-View and download educational material about insurance products.
-Most often will have a benefit advisor available if you need additional assitance.
How do Public and Private Exchanges Work?
Consumers register and create a profile in the public or private exchange and then review and compare multiple plans that the exchange has recommended for them, based on their profile. Plans can range from low premium catastrophic plans or high deductible health plans with a set amount of office visits, varying co-pays and prescription drug cards. The bottom line, premiums can differ by as much as 60% among the suggested plan alternatives. In a Private Exchange, some of the carriers also offer supplemental benefits to enhance your health coverage, such as a dental or vision plan. The consumer pays for their benefits selected and sets up payments through a simplified electronic payment system.