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National Restaurant Association - Public vs. private health care exchanges: Understanding the difference

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Public vs. private health care exchanges: Understanding the difference

With the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in effect, nearly all Americans are required to purchase health insurance or face a possible tax penalty. More people are turning to “exchanges,” also known as marketplaces, to buy plans.

There’s been a lot of talk about the different type of exchanges available – specifically, “public” vs. “private” exchanges. Here's a quick overview to help you sort it out: Public exchanges enable certain consumers -- unemployed individuals, individuals without employer-sponsored plans and some small companies -- to purchase health insurance. These government-run marketplaces offer insurance plans from private insurers. Private exchanges, on the other hand, are available only to employees of companies that choose to participate in it.

These four key factors help define the difference between public and private exchanges:

  Public Exchange Private Exchange
Who runs it? Government Private company or broker
Who is it for? Individuals and small employers Employees
Who does it subsidize? Premium subsidies and tax credits for qualifying individuals Employer contribution toward health plan and employee selects
Product offering? Medical and prescription plans Broader range of products; in addition to medical or prescription drugs, they include dental, vision and various voluntary benefits

The NRA is working to provide our members with the right health-care solutions for their businesses and employees.  Our Health Care HQ now offers access to a public exchange dedicated to people in the restaurant industry. We’ll bring a private-exchange solution on board soon.

Feel free to reach out to NRA health care expert Randy Spicer for help in finding the right health-care solution for your restaurant company.

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