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A Health Exchange by Any Other Name...

Utah’s Health Exchange has a new name, along with a new website.  State leaders say they want to distance themselves from the Affordable Care Act.  Starting Thursday, the program which connects small businesses with health insurance carriers will be called Avenue H. 

An exchange allows employers to contribute a fixed amount toward their employees’ health care coverage. The employees can then choose a plan that fits their individual needs.  After Utah began developing an exchange, the Affordable Care Act mandated that all states put an exchange in place by 2014.  Patty Conner, the Director of Avenue H, told reporters the term ‘exchange’ has now become distracting.

“It’s become a name that has a lot of politics attached to it,” Conner said, “We didn’t want this to be seen as a government program because it really is a free market approach, and we want people to understand it as that.”

Right now, 309 Utah small businesses provide health insurance through Avenue H, serving more than 7000 people.  The insurance carriers involved in the program are Regence BlueCross BlueShield, United Healthcare, and Select Health.  Conner says will soon have data on the carriers, so consumers can compare denial rates, claim turnarounds, and customer service.

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