Insurance ExchangeCEOs of health plans are in an interesting position as the Supreme Court deliberates the viability of the healthcare reform law and as the election approaches. That is to say, what approach should they take: should they plow ahead to get ready for the changes coming in 2014, or take their time with big decisions? Let’s discuss the latest rounds of changes and new additions to how the insurance exchanges may be implemented.

If the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the reform law, Congress will be less likely to change or dismantle the law until after the elections. Therefore, it would make sense for insurers to move ahead now since the major changes such as insurance exchanges take effect at the beginning of 2014. Organizations need time to get ready for these exchanges and it would be too late if some sort of planning doesn’t take place imminently. Although not directly correlated to the insurers’ game plan but still pertinent to decision-making, another potential reason for not waiting for the Supreme Court and the election results is related to the states – states need to prepare for these insurance exchanges in order to get the subsidy payments tied in with the reform provisions.

However, some contend that insurers should wait – not jump into any costly decisions. They will have to consider getting subsidies for qualified beneficiaries from the government but that should not affect the timing of planning. The decision from the Supreme Court is less than two months away and then insurers will have 15 months after that to decide whether to even participate in the insurance exchanges. That is assuming that the exchanges are not overthrown and that the insurance reforms are kept intact – otherwise there would be very little motivation to be in the exchanges at all.

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