IRLE Library Licenses Software for Health
Benefit Exchanges

In January of 2013, the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) Library collaborated with IRLE’s Center for Labor Research and Education to develop an online benefits calculator. The need for the calculator is driven by the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for a network of state-level Health Benefits Exchanges, which will help consumers understand their options for coverage under the new law.

The calculator enables anyone with Web access to obtain estimates of their potential health care costs once the new exchanges go into effect. The initial research for this project came from the California Endowment, which continues to fund The Labor Center’s research on the Affordable Care Act and its impact on working people.

Although research was the primary goal, library staff saw further uses for this online tool. IRLE Library Director Terry Huwe and Web Administrator Elizabeth del Rocio Camacho opened a dialogue with Labor Center Chair Ken Jacobs about licensing the calculator. “It was clear to me that the Labor Center was so focused on their research that they did not have the time to think about how many organizations would benefit from using this calculator,” Camacho said. “I knew that if we licensed the software, we could make it available at no cost to states and non-profits, and also offer for-profit health plans a license for a fee.”

Working with the campus Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliance Office, library staff crafted a license and copyright agreement according to UC guidelines, which identify both The Regents of the University of California and the authors of the algorithms and programming code as the owners of the work. Since then, six states and a research arm of the University of Chicago have been granted licenses. Other states, including Utah and Arizona have expressed interest, and two for-profit health plans have acquired licenses. California’s exchange, known as Covered California, anticipates receiving millions of visits per month, and has geared up for the crunch by adding a fully staffed call center to handle questions. 

The IRLE Library will provide updates and revisions to the calculator for one year after the license is signed.

The California Endowment

The National Health Care Calculator   

California Exchange

Minnesota Exchange

Colorado Exchange

Washington Exchange

Montana Co-Op

Nevada Co-Op

Utah Co-Op (*Expressed Interest*)

Arizona Co-Op (*Expressed Interest*)

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