"I think that's what we're going to see across the country," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, in a statement. "Competition is a good thing."
States are also planning to pour millions of dollars into public outreach programs to market their exchanges. California plans to spend nearly $200 million on its marketing campaign and deliver ads in more than a dozen languages.
Keeping it Simple
One of the key concerns heading into 2014 is that the process of buying insurance online will be tedious and frustrating for potential applicants. That became an even bigger concern in early 2013 when the federal government issued a draft application form for enrollees that was 23 pages long.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has since reconsidered that form, releasing a streamlined version in May that is just three pages long.
"Consumers will have a simple, easy-to-understand way to apply for health coverage later this year," said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a statement. "The application for individuals is now three pages, making it easier to use and significantly shorter than industry standards. This is another step as we get ready for a consumer-friendly marketplace that will be open for business later this year."
There's also a concern about whether the federal government will be able to organize and build a central exchange to serve the states that opted not to create their own exchange. But officials say that project is on schedule.