Since 2014, seventeen state-based health insurance marketplaces launched across the country. Just as many states began to find their footing, the future of healthcare laws were thrown into flux. While we don’t know yet what lays ahead, now is the time for states to take stock of their exchanges, assessing gaps to be filled and assets to be leveraged as the new healthcare landscape emerges.

A tool businesses use to identify these areas is a SWOT analysis, which pinpoints strengths and weaknesses, and identifies external opportunities and threats. (SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.) Through this exercise, state-based marketplaces (SBMs) can better understand which policy changes may pose the greatest threats to their current business model and where they are nimble enough to take advantage of new policies.

To help, we have created a starter SWOT table. It contains a checklist of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that may be relevant to SBMs. While not all of these will be applicable to a specific SBM, the list should provide a launch point for their own exercise.

    • A quick glance at the checklist shows that SBMs have a significant number of potential marketing and sales assets. SBMs should be considering how to leverage these strengths.
    • On the other hand, there is a long list of potential operational weaknesses. SBMs should have a clear understanding of these vulnerabilities and make plans to mitigate them.
    • Not surprisingly, there are both operational and marketing-related opportunities and threats. SBMs should have a strategy to respond to the most important items in their markets so they can act as the policy environment becomes more clear.

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