Health Insurance Exchanges Conference
It was April 11-12, 2013. The ACA’s Health Insurance Exchanges were scheduled to go live in six months, and 14 states had chosen to develop their own online marketplaces rather than participate in the federal Healthcare.gov. With funding from the Sloan Foundation, LDI brought nearly 100 researchers and policymakers together at the first Penn LDI Health Insurance Exchanges Conference. The air was filled with excitement and uncertainty. Guest blogger Austin Frakt captured some of the conversations in a series of short posts. Researchers talked about choice architecture and optimal exchange design and health plan competition; state exchange officials had more immediate and practical concerns, stating, “We’ll just be happy if the lights go on.” In retrospect, they had reason to worry.
The conference was so successful that it became an annual event, drawing support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and spawning longstanding collaborations between researchers and policymakers. The Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX) Research Group, led by Tom Baker and Bob Town, continues to produce policy-relevant research that informs how consumers shop for health insurance in the individual marketplace. While the fate of the ACA is uncertain, the demand for the conference is not; the fifth annual HIX Conference will be held in September 2017. Check out coverage of last year’s event.