The Utah health insurance exchange is focused on Small Businesses

Under the federal health care reform law, all states will be required to set up a health insurance exchange starting in 2014. The state of Utah is ahead of the game as Utah has already set-up a health care exchange. PBS did a nice post on the Utah health care exchange.

When health insurance exchanges are fully operational, it’s estimated about 30 million Americans will be able to go online and buy health insurance, many of them for the first time. But two states are ahead of the game, Massachusetts and Utah. Utah did it because its 67,000 small business owners, who account for three of every five jobs in the state, were drowning in high costs.

Patty Conner is director of the Utah Health Exchange. She says, ” Utah Health Exchange: Consumer shopping on the health care exchange is very similar to shopping in a mall. They may go in and out of a variety of stores and identify what they’re looking for that day. The exchange is very similar to that. There are over 100 choices.”

Last year, Utah launched its new exchange with a pilot program. And in January, it opened it up to all small businesses. But that’s the only group the exchange addresses. Right now, larger businesses and the 300,000 uninsured residents of the state cannot get coverage through the exchange, because state officials were not focused on getting more people insured, a key goal of the federal health care reform law.

While many other states have been looking to Utah for advice on how to set up an exchange, critics point out the response to it has been at best lukewarm, with only 160 small businesses signed up so far.

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