Despite the lingering resistance many states have to setting up their own health insurance exchanges, some health plans are moving forward to prepare for the influx of consumers looking for health insurance products.
The exchanges are due to come online in 2014, and with the election results making certain the remaining components of the Affordable Care Act are here to stay, reality is setting in.
Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott reportedly has softened his opposition to setting up an exchange. If other states follow Florida's lead (I'm looking at you Texas, Alabama, Missouri, and Kansas), the federal government will wait.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that it would delay the deadline for states to decide whether the exchanges would be run by the state or the federal government.
But that's politics, not business. At Florida Blue, that state's largest health plan with seven million members, the company is preparing for what it believes the exchanges will bring: more consumers to the marketplace.
"There will be a lot more focus on the retail end of the healthcare transaction. More, B-to-C [business-to-consumer] than B-to-B, [business-to-business] and even where you have a B-to-B transaction, the employers are doing more cost-sharing with their employees, and so individuals are being much more involved in the decisions they have to make on their healthcare choices," says Pat Geraghty, President and CEO of Florida Blue.