March 16, 2012
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced regulations to guide state-level development of health insurance exchanges. The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) looks forward to highlighting the good work being done in the states to capitalize on this dynamic opportunity in healthcare. The implementation of the health insurance exchanges will also encompass defining and updating “essential health benefits” for health plan options under the insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Improved access to health insurance coverage can provide people with peace of mind and a better ability to maintain good health. The insurance exchanges will offer consumers a choice among qualified health plans that offer different coverage levels, but provide essential health benefits – including preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management.
Chronic diseases, such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease, are the leading causes of death, disability, and rising healthcare costs in the U.S. – not to mention increase the burden on our healthcare system, public budgets and economy at large.
Because many chronic diseases are largely avoidable and highly manageable, health insurance exchanges can serve as a significant step forward in the fight against chronic disease in two critical ways: by making health coverage more available (especially to at-risk populations) and by improving access to chronic disease prevention and management benefits.
For more information on health insurance exchanges, including fact sheets, visit www.healthcare.gov/exchanges.