The Mayor’s Health Reform Implementation Committee (HRIC) is seeking public input on planning for a Health Insurance Exchange for District residents. A Health Insurance Exchange, which is similar to a virtual marketplace, is required by the federal health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and will serve a critical function in helping District residents secure affordable health care coverage.
The city needs to design a Health Insurance Exchange that meets the needs of District residents who can take advantage of the new opportunities for health care coverage under the law, as well as provide a sustainable model. Through the Exchange, individuals and small business employers will shop for, and compare health plans, purchase health insurance and, in many cases, receive tax credits.
This summer, the HRIC member agencies—the District departments of Health Care Finance; Insurance, Securities and Banking; Health; and Human Services—have been hosting several public meetings to garner public input in the planning process, with more scheduled. However, since many people find it difficult to attend public meetings, the HRIC has developed a survey to offer another avenue for sharing thoughts and suggestions. This is the first of several surveys that will be conducted during the planning phase for the Exchange.
The HRIC plans to use its extensive communication network including Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to assist with getting the surveys into the hands of the District public. It is critically important to hear the residents’ thoughts, needs, and concerns as the District moves forward with planning for the implementation of health care reform.
The Health Insurance Exchange survey will be available on the HRIC website at www.healthreform.dc.gov until Aug. 31, 2011. Residents may request a paper copy by contacting Health Policy Analyst Brendan Rose at Brendan.Rose@dc.gov or at (202) 442-7811.
We'll continue the next rounds of meetings in the community in the various wards. Visit the website www.healthreform.dc.gov for date and times.
At the previous meetings, discussions were held on the structure and governance; what must be present to make the marketplace more desirable; what will be considered affordable; and how it should operate. So far, these series of meetings have been held in various sections of the city, including Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, Martin Luther King Jr. Library, West End Library and Cleveland Park Library. HRIC’s public engagement began on the heels of the passage of the ACA law in March 2010, with meetings at Benning Road Library, One Judiciary Square and MLK Library with smaller meetings at member agencies.
The HRIC anticipates having a report to give to the mayor by early fall.