Here we are. October 1 marked the beginning in many ways of a grand innovation in social and health policy.
The exchanges across the country – and our very own here in Colorado – went live, opening a new marketplace for many Americans to research and shop for health insurance. It’s the fundamental vehicle for many uninsured Americans to purchase insurance and comply with the individual mandate.
Over the past year or so, the Colorado Health Institute has researched many aspects of this broad, bold policy. We’ve detailed the impact in costs and lives of the Medicaid expansion. We’ve identified the challenges of reaching the “young invincibles” and other populations that must enroll to diversify risk and ensure the success of the individual mandate. We’ve explored the concept of “affordability” and tried to anticipate how Coloradans will define that for themselves. We’ve looked at workplace wellness programs and the incentives that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provide for prevention and wellness services. We’ve provided numerous “just the facts” ACA presentations at business conferences, town hall meetings and employer forums.
In many ways, it all led to this milestone, the public appearance of Connect for Health Colorado. We know that, administratively, there most likely will be problems from Day One. These issues stem from the inability of Colorado’s exchange to effectively communicate with both the Medicaid eligibility system and the federal subsidies system. So the premium reductions or eligibility for public insurance will not be immediately obvious to potential purchasers. Proponents advise us to give this time. Opponents suggest that this an obvious indication of the failure of this policy.
Only time will tell how the ACA will be implemented in our country. As a non-partisan organization, CHI stands by to continue its research, analysis and insight on this series of policy changes. As the ACA unfolds, check in with us. CHI is committed to understanding the full impact of the ACA on all of us here in Colorado.