Expectations High for CO Health Exchange

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1min 21sec

As the US Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments for and against the federal healthcare law next week, a new survey sheds light on what Coloradans want from it. CPR Health Reporter Eric Whitney looks at opinions about the a key part of the law: an online insurance marketplace called a “health insurance exchange.”

Here is a transcript of Eric Whitney's report:

Eric Whitney: Danny Katz is director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group. It’s one of three local advocacy groups that polled Coloradans on their expectations for a new health insurance exchange.

Danny Katz: A lot of people still don’t know what it is. Yeah, it’s very new.

Reporter: It’s so new, it doesn’t exist yet. The federal Affordable Care Act says every state has to have an exchange in place by 2014. That’s when almost all Americans will be required to buy health coverage. Exchanges are supposed to be the places where people can use new the tax subsidies the law promises to help them buy government-approved plans. Katz says, once people understand what it is…

Katz: Peoples’ expectations for this exchange are high. And they all have a slightly different expectation of what this exchange can do for them.

Reporter: In general, Katz says, people expect the exchange to be an easy-to-use website, where they can compare insurance policies and get good prices.

Gretchen Hammer: Cost is one of the major drivers of decision making when looking at health insurance products.

Reporter: Gretchen Hammer chairs the board that's setting up Colorado’s health exchange. She says the survey emphasizes the importance of great customer service: real human beings people can talk to when they have trouble with the website, or the option to bypass the website entirely. Hammer says good service doesn’t necessarily mean higher costs. That’s important because the board is still working on how to fund the exchange long term. Federal start-up funding ends in 2015.