This guide provides an overview of the Louisiana health insurance exchange including the history of the public exchange, how the public exchange will operate, and exchange information for Louisiana residents and small businesses.
Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange Introduction
Beginning in 2014, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance coverage for individuals and small businesses will become available through new state health insurance exchanges.
Most importantly, the key tax credits (e.g. the small business healthcare tax credits) and tax subsidies (e.g. individual health insurance tax subsidies) will only be available for coverage purchased through a state health insurance exchanges.
All states have three options for setting up a state health insurance exchange for 2014:
- Build a state-based exchange
- Enter into a state-federal partnership exchange
- Default to a federally-facilitated exchange
Louisiana will default to a federally-facilitated health insurance exchange (also called the health insurance marketplace).
Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange - History
Governor Bobby Jindal has been a vocal opponent of health care reform and Medicaid expansion. During the 2012 legislative session, Senate Bill 744 was introduced to establish Louisiana's health insurance exchange, however the bill did not have support from Governor Jindal and the legislation failed when the 2012 session ended. In July 2012, Governor Jindal announced that Louisiana would default to a federally-facilitated health insurance exchange, and that Louisiana would not participate in Medicaid expansion.
Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange - What is It?
The Louisian health insurance exchange will be operated through a federally-run health insurance exchange, also referred to as the Health Insurance Marketplace. Starting in October 2013, Louisiana residents will be able to access information about all the plans available through the Exchange. The SHOP Exchange will also be available to small businesses with 100 or fewer employers. Coverage from the Exchange starts in January 2014.
According to an estimate by healthcare.gov, 794,805 or 20% of Louisiana’s non-elderly residents are uninsured.
Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange - What Plans will be Available?
All plans offered through the Louisiana health insurance wxchange will meet the ACA definition of a Qualified Health Plan (QHP). The plans will be offered by level of coverage for essential health benefits (EHB), to allow consumers to compare plans on an "apples to apples" basis. The four "metal" levels are: Bronze (plan pays 60%), Silver (plan pays 70%), Gold (plan pays 80%) and Platinum (plan pays 90%). More information on the types of plans that will be available, and the carriers offering plans in Louisiana, is expected by late summer 2013.
Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange - Role of Insurance Professionals & Navigators
Louisiana's health insurance exchange will follow federal guidelines for insurance professionals selling policies through the Exchange and for navigators assisting consumers and small businesses.
Insurance professionals will be able to register with Louisiana's health insurance exchange and receive any commissions directly from the carriers (using their Exchange ID number and NPN).
Louisiana's health insurance exchange navigator program will assist consumers in making choices about their health care options and accessing their new health care coverage, including access to premium tax credits for some consumers. The federal government will run the navigator program in Louisiana.