Next month, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its opinion regarding the individual mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Their ruling on the constitutionality of requiring every American to purchase health insurance may affect how health reform moves forward. But, one thing the ruling will not significantly alter, in all likelihood, is the development of state-run health insurance exchanges. That's because regardless of the individual mandate, employers and individuals will still be looking for a vehicle that provides affordable health insurance that meets their needs - and exchanges may indeed be the answer.

PPACA mandates that all states and territories establish and launch their own health insurance exchange by Jan. 1, 2014, or default to a federal fallback program. These exchanges will create an online, one-stop shopping mall where consumers, employers, insurance brokers and others will view competing health plans side by side. By doing so, exchanges are designed to provide more value-based purchasing, more affordability and greater choice.

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