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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Building a New Marketplace

Call it Vendorpalooza, company speed dating, or more seriously, having a strategic discussion with private sector firms:  the question remains - how do you find creative ways to build a health insurance exchange? Building an exchange is complex and can be a very expensive proposition for a state. Brand new eligibility, enrollment and business systems must be pulled together to serve consumers and small businesses under federal requirements.

So, how do you build this all from scratch?  The short answer is: you don’t.

It turns out that a number of companies provide services and technology to the health insurance market and Medicaid programs across the country. To get a better understanding of what these companies offer, Colorado’s Insurance Exchange Planning Group invited 12 companies to participate in an event spanning three days. Each was allotted 90 minutes to share their perspective on setting up an exchange. No sales . . . just advice drawn from their own experience. The advice we received in these rapid-fire sessions was clear:

  1. Most of the capabilities needed by a health insurance exchange already exist in some form. While modifications will be necessary to meet state and federal requirements, Colorado will not have to start from scratch.
  2. There is no such thing as an “exchange-in-a-box.” States will need to work with several companies to get the best value.
  3. There will be plenty of change ahead for any exchange, so at the outset it should be designed to be flexible and adaptable.

Colorado’s exchange team was encouraged by these meetings. Partnerships with national and regional companies can help us create an exchange that does its new job well and we won’t have to do it alone.  Follow developments in Colorado’s Health Insurance Exchange here or follow #COHIEX on Twitter.