The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a plan to implement Affordable Insurance Exchanges, a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. health care reform, according to an HHS statement. The exchanges are state-based marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to purchase private health insurance. Forty-nine states, including Washington, DC, have accepted government grants to fund their exchanges and will use HHS guidelines to set up and run the hubs. “Insurance companies will compete for business on a transparent, level playing field, driving down costs,” explained HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “And exchanges will give individuals and small businesses the same purchasing power as big businesses and a choice of plans to fit their needs.”

To read the HHS statement, click here.