Enrollment in statewide health care exchanges began on Oct. 1, 2013. These exchanges, established pursuant to the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), provide individuals without employer-sponsored health insurance the opportunity to purchase private health insurance at a range of coverage levels. The ACA also provides income-based premium subsidies for those who may otherwise been unable to afford private insurance. Individuals who enroll will be eligible for coverage beginning January 1, 2014. The exchanges will benefit workers with disabilities who do not receive health insurance through their employers and who would have previously been unable to obtain affordable coverage as a result of their disability. Health plans listed on the exchanges must include coverage for many services used by individuals with disabilities, such as habilitative services, that were not covered previously by many private insurance plans.
The opening of the exchanges has been marked by technical difficulties associated with the central web site associated with the exchanges, www.healthcare.gov. Technology industry experts, including employees of Google and Oracle, have joined efforts to improve the site’s performance. For more information, see http://www.healthcare.gov.