HHS defends 'exchange' name change

The federal health department says the term 'exchange' has no Spanish translation

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services began referring to health insurance exchanges as "marketplaces" in an effort to better reach the Hispanic population, according to The Hill's Healthwatch.

HHS quietly began using marketplace instead of exchange a few weeks ago in press materials and a website, but offered no explanation of  the reasoning behind the name change, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Speaking at the Health Action conference hosted by Families USA, HHS Director of External Affairs Anton Gunn said the agency is trying to reach out to Spanish-speaking consumers, many of whom are expected to shop for health coverage through the online marketplaces,

The problem, Gunn said, is that the word "exchange" doesn't translate to anything meaningful in Spanish. "We're going to use the word 'marketplace' because it actually makes sense to people," Gunn said at the conference. "'Exchange' doesn't translate to anything in Spanish, but 'marketplace' does."

He explained that 12 million of the people eligible to use exchanges speak Spanish, and "these are the people we need to reach."  

To learn more:
- read The Hill's Healthwatch article

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