Office of Consumer Health Services
The Office of Consumer Health Services (OCHS) charter is based on Utah’s commitment to health care reform statewide. The mandate for this office is to:
- In cooperation with the Insurance Department, the Department of Health, and the Department of Workforce Services, and in accordance with the electronic standards create an Internet portal that is capable of providing access to private and government health insurance web sites and their electronic application forms and submission procedures.
- Facilitate a private sector method for the collection of health insurance premium payments made for a single policy by multiple payers, including the policyholder, one or more employers of one or more individuals covered by the policy, government programs, and others by educating employers and insurers about collection services available through private vendors, including financial institutions.
- Assist employers with a free or low cost method for establishing mechanisms for the purchase of health insurance by employees using pre-tax dollars.
The Office has been instrumental in the launch of Avenue H, Utah’s small business health insurance marketplace. Avenue H enhances consumer choice and gives small business owners the ability to offer more health insurance options for themselves and their employees all in one place. The benefits of an online health insurance marketplace include:
- Choice and Value – Employers choose the amount they can contribute and employees choose the plan that meets their needs.
- Tax Benefits – Defined contribution and employee-paid funds are pre-tax dollars, and a small business employer tax credit up to 35% of health contributions is available.
- Easy and Guaranteed Issue – Groups cannot be turned down for health reasons, and employers don’t have to choose the plan for employees.