To the exchange, or not to the exchange, that is the question. One of many questions actually. Since the health insurance exchanges opened up on October 1, 2013, medical practices have been bombarded with questions ranging from “what is it?” to “which plan should I choose?”
But how could you possibly explain all of this to every patient that walks through the door?
1. Listen to your patients
Don’t just hear them, listen to their questions and concerns. Give them your undivided attention and figure out just what they are asking so you can answer their questions or direct them to a resource that will give them the answers they need.
2. Learn about the health exchanges
Having a basic knowledge on how the health exchanges will benefit you personally and professionally, especially if you are concerned about providing health insurance to your employees. Small businesses, defined as being up to 50 full-time equivalent employees (100 in some states), can shop for and purchase health insurance for their employees through the SHOP marketplace. Read up on some common FAQs on the American College of Physicians website here.
3. Put politics aside
Keep in mind that whether you support the Affordable Care Act or not, it is important to support your patients in their decisions to seek coverage. Make it easy for them to access the facts and let them make a decision without talking politics. Putting in a political perspective can make patients and fellow employees uncomfortable so stick to the facts.
4. Sharing is caring
Now that you have your health insurance exchange ammo, it is time to use it. Print out brochures to give to patients or include a page on your practice website devoted to the health care exchanges. You can browse healthcare.gov to find helpful information to give to your patients or visit Marketplace.cms.gov for fact sheets, brochures, and other materials in a number of languages.