Even if the government shuts down October 1, the health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act will still become available. But a South Dakota insurance company has started its own private exchange for business, one that will be ACA compliant.
Leola High School Teacher Pamela Fauth was used to having just a couple of choices for her insurance plans. But last summer the district enrolled in DAKOTACARE’s Freedom eMarket and that all changed.
"Before we only had two options because we're a small school, as far as deductibles go. With the eMarket, we had eight options. I'm fairly healthy. I don't use my insurance a lot. So I was able to choose a higher deductible," Fauth said.
Fifteen businesses, including the Leola School District have signed up for DAKOTACARE's Freedom eMarket and the company expects many more to do so when it comes time to renew insurance after the first of the year.
"The concept is pretty simple; it gives the employer by choosing a defined contribution amount they are going to apply to every employee's coverage a means to moderate or make their costs more predictable. Then the individuals with these funds go to online eMarket and have an entire array of policies to chose from," Kirk Zimmer of DAKOTACARE said.
As businesses band together in a private exchange, they also can be assured they're following the new laws under the Affordable Care Act.
"We have a defined contribution method and that method in itself is not new, but the ability for the employee to have this defined contribution and go in and make their selections, which are also in compliance with all the new federal regulations, is a new opportunity," Julie Nikolas is the Superintendent at Leola School District said.
The private exchange not only helps to keep the district's costs down, but their employees as well.
"Before we had the eMarket, the insurance at the school was not cost effective for me to have my family on it. It was really expensive. When we went with this plan, it reduced the cost because I raised my deductible, so I was able to add my family to the school insurance," Fauth said.
DAKOTACARE says private exchanges are a trend that people can expect to see as affordable care becomes the law of the land.
For more information and other stories on health care law changes, visit our Affordable Care Act page.