Health Care Reform (HCR) , or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), was passed into law in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2012. As a result of this law, each state is required to operate a federally facilitated or state run Health Insurance Marketplace. Through these marketplaces, or exchanges, residents and small businesses of the state can shop for, compare and purchase health and dental coverage. The three types of public exchanges are:
- State run exchanges: The state creates and administers all aspects of the exchange.
- The federal exchange: The state owns the interpretation of essential health benefits and defines plan design, but the federal government administers the plans.
- State-federal partnerships: The state defines plan design, but shares the administrative responsibility with the federal government.
Health and dental coverage can be purchased through these public exchanges, or outside of these public exchanges through traditional sales channels.