D.C. seeks carriers to participate in online health exchange

The District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Agency has requested non-binding letters of intent to determine which carriers will sell health and dental coverage through Washington, D.C’s online health insurance exchange.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that all states and the District set up online exchanges that are operational by Oct. 1, so that citizens can be covered by Jan. 1, 2014, when most Americans will be required to have some form of health insurance.

The District elected to set up its own exchange rather than default to a federal exchange program.

Carriers in the individual and small-group markets must cover a standardized “essential health benefits” (EHB) package. Plans sold through the exchanges must offer coverage in one of four levels, with ranking being based on the percentage of the actuarial value of the EHB package that the plans cover. Bronze plans will have 60% coverage, silver will cover 70%, gold 80%, and platinum will cover 90%.

The exchange authority wants to know the number of plans and level of products to be offered, including PPO and HMO plans.