It’s hard not to notice the out-of-control health insurance cost increases in recent years. Three out of every four individual-market policyholders saw a premium increase from early 2009 to early 2010. Small businesses are particularly hard hit. They now pay 18% more for insurance than their larger competitors and have seen repeated double digit premium increases.
But what can Illinois policymakers do to help Illinois families? Turns out, there’s a lot they can do.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows states to create a health insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses. Much the way a large employer negotiates insurance rates for their employees, an exchange would allow small businesses and individuals the ability to pool their buying power and negotiate a better as well, saving Illinois families billions of dollars.
An exchange works to lower costs because it increases competition and improves the choices customers have in the state’s insurance market. But it only works if the exchange is accountable to the public, and the individual and small business consumers it’s designed to serve, not the special interests.
As policy makers consider an exchange program over the coming months, the consumer advocacy group Illinois PIRG will be highlighting many of the important policy questions in a series of policy briefs.
The first in the series of seven details steps policy-makers can take to ensure that the exchange program is accountable to the public and operates in the best interests of consumers and businesses.
Take a look by going here.