Author Archives: Angie Drobnic Holan

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About Angie Drobnic Holan

Angie Drobnic Holan is a staff writer at Tampa Bay Times. She is attending Health Journalism 2013 on an AHCJ-Healthier Beat Fellowship, which is supported by the Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Journalists should expect a rocky implementation of exchanges #ahcj13

With less than 10 months until uninsured consumers can buy health coverage via online marketplaces known as exchanges, journalists should expect a tumultuous and at times messy process until Jan. 1, 2014, health experts told journalists at AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2013 in Boston.

The online exchanges, or marketplaces as the Obama administration increasingly likes to call them, are where consumers will purchase health insurance backed by a federal subsidy based on their income. The exchanges will either be run by the states, the federal government or a joint effort between the two.

Cheryl Smith, a director at consulting firm Leavitt Partners, told journalists on the panel that states are asking themselves three questions: Can they meet their deadlines to create the exchanges? Can the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services meet its deadlines to approve or, in some cases set up the exchanges? And will all of these exchanges work when it comes time for people to buy insurance?

“The answers are: crapshoot, crapshoot, crapshoot,” Smith said. “We really don’t know.” Continue reading