Health insurance exchanges are a key part of the health reform law. The exchanges are also called health insurance marketplaces. Starting in 2014, an exchange will be set up in each state.
The goal of the exchanges is to set up a place where you can compare health plans. An exchange will let you compare prices and purchase a plan that's right for you.
You'll also be able to find out if you qualify for Medicaid or government programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
"Preexisting condition" is a term you may have encountered when trying to get health insurance. It refers to a medical condition that you had before you tried to enroll in an insurance plan. Traditionally, preexisting conditions have been used by insurance companies as a reason to disallow coverage for that condition.
But the rules for preexisting conditions are changing. Since the passage of the health care reform law, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to children under age 19 because of preexisting conditions. Starting in 2014 the law will apply to adults as well.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
A PPO is a type of health plan that provides health care coverage through a network of providers. If you have a PPO, you likely will pay much less for medical service from in-network providers than for service from out-of-network providers.