FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The start of enrollment in the health care exchanges set up by President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act this month raised more questions than it answered for many residents in Fairfield County.
In an attempt to answer some of those questions, state Rep. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, gathered experts in one room to explain how the exchanges work for individuals, doctors and small businesses.
“This is not to condemn or condone ACA,” Hwang said at the start of the forum, held at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. “This program is about getting information for our community. And making sure our community, our residents and peoples lives that are being impacted by the Affordable Care Act know what’s going to play out.”
According to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, more than 3,000 families in Connecticut have purchased insurance through Access Health CT, the state's insurance exchange, since it opened Oct. 1.
“This is great news. As families continue learning more about health care reform and logging into the new marketplace, they’re finding an affordable plan that works for them – and they’re saving money while they’re doing it,” Himes said in a statement.
But navigating the marketplace is where many families and small businesses encounter problems, Hwang said at the forum.
Insurance broker Tim Tracey said the insurance exchange has worked both ways: Some people have found insurance that saves them money over an employer plan, but some end up seeing rates higher than what they can get from their employer.
“You have to be very careful,” Tracey said. “Make sure you work with an individual who knows the program.”
Prices are likely to come down even in Connecticut, which is a traditionally high cost state, said Phil Boyle, outreach manager for Access Health CT. He has been working with businesses and brokers across the state in order to make the most accurate information available about the Affordable Care Act and how it affect the residents of Connecticut.
“We are creating competition in the market place,” Boyle said, and that tends to drive prices down.
For more information about the insurance exchange visit the Access Health CT website.