As states begin to implement their health insurance exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services has announced that it will begin referring to the exchanges as "health insurance marketplaces." The change is meant to reflect that exchanges are, in fact, a marketplace where individuals can browse a variety of health insurance plans before purchasing one that fits their needs and budget.
While the name has changed, the concept hasn't. Marketplaces will still serve as "one-stop shopping," where individuals can compare the prices, premiums, and benefits of different health insurance plans and decide which one to purchase. A total of 17 states and the District of Columbia have received conditional approval to build their health insurance marketplaces, which are expected to open for enrollment in October of this year.