Older workers, especially the self-employed or those who hope to retire early, have a lot at stake financially in the nation’s efforts at health-care reform, since people in that demographic often struggle to find affordable health insurance. Even if you have health insurance through your employer and are perfectly happy with your coverage, health-care changes in the coming decade will likely touch upon many aspects of your life: taxes, decisions about retirement, medical coverage for dependents, and the economy as a whole.Shutterstock.com
Bottom line: The more you know about the coming changes in the system, the better. So if you’re confused about health-care reform and – in particular – what your state is doing (or not doing ) when it comes to establishing “health insurance exchanges,” an invaluable tool from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation can help clarify matters.
The foundation’s Health Reform Source, which is among the best guides online about health-care reform, features a service titled “The States” – a state-by-state “view of health-care reform implementation and news.” More specifically, this tool shows:
– Where each state stands in creating and implementing insurance exchanges
– How individual exchanges will be governed
– Total federal exchange grants
– The legislative process behind state actions
Some background: Starting in 2014, people will be able to shop for health-care coverage through new insurance exchanges. (Four tiers of health plans will be available – bronze, silver, gold or platinum – with varying costs and coverage.) Individual states have the option of setting up their own exchanges; the federal government will operate exchanges for states that decide against doing so.
Late last week, the Obama administration gave states an additional month – until mid-December – to declare whether they plan to set up their own exchanges.
So…using the Kaiser Foundation’s tool, a resident in Georgia, for instance, would learn that Gov. Nathan Deal announced last week that Georgia had stopped planning for an exchange. Assuming the state doesn’t change course, the federal government will begin running an exchange in Georgia in 2014. Or, a resident in New Jersey could find that the legislature has passed a bill to establish a health insurance exchange – but that Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t yet signed the legislation.