This move would seem to be in direct response to the confusion and malaise surrounding people's understanding of exactly what an "exchange" is? We even dedicated a whole blog post answering some of your most frequently asked questions.
Is Anything Changing Besides the Name?
Right now it appears this is purely a cosmetic change, a rebranding of sorts, to help better communicate what these now marketplaces will do.
The former health insurance exchanges will still exist as a place for you to shop, compare and apply for health insurance from the comfort of your home.
It is nice to see that an entity as large and powerful as the government is listening to what people are saying. However you would like to think someone at the White House or Capital would have read a marketing 101 book before now.
While they are catching up on their reading, let's hope economics 101 is on their list.
Does This Mean They are Reconsidering Other Aspects of the Law?
There is no evidence to support this at the moment, however if the federal government has its listening ears on, they might want to pay attention to what health insurance companies and industry experts are saying about what the law will do to the overall cost of health insurance.
If you haven't heard, the words double and triple have been used to describe the changes in cost.
There have been rumors swirling that some of the laws more costly provisions, such as community rating, could be delayed in an attempt to offset or slow down the aggressive increases forthcoming.
Should You Be Worried About This?
Yes and no. You should be worried about the potential to pay substantially more for your health insurance in 2014. If you don't have or can't get health insurance right now, 2014 can't get here fast enough.
Should They Rename Anything Else?
Since you asked, it wouldn't hurt to rename the entire law. As you can see, the Affordable Care Act is not going to be so affordable after all. A more appropriate name might have been the Guaranteed Access Act, since the law's crowning achievement will be to provide everyone in the country with the ability to get health insurance, no questions asked.
The Bottom Line
Even something as simple and insignificant as changing one word, provides hope that the Obama administration might reconsider some aspects of health care reform that are not in your best interest, like calling an online health insurance marketplace an exchange in the first place.
In the meantime, you can checkout our own health insurance exchange while you wait for this mess to get sorted out.
Let's Hear It
What do you think of the new name? Does it help you understand what the exchange/marketplace is suppose to do? Are there more changes you would like to see follow?