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Carrier Offerings on the Exchanges and Employer Preferences in the Commercial Group Market

Posted by Laura McMullen on Fri, Jul 08, 2016

We’re reading about carrier offerings and costs on public exchanges and employer preferences in the commercial group market. Here’s a roundup of interesting datapoints, perspectives, and news.

Health insurers are announcing their intentions for the 2016-17 open enrollment period:

And requesting rate increases:

  • Credit Suisse reports that 20.7% is the average increase in the price of plans that will be sold in 2017 through public exchanges. (AIS Health Business Daily, 6/22/16, From INSIDE HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES)
  • Arizona Blue has requested a rate increase of 65.9% and will be the only exchange option in every county in the state. Phoenix Health Plans requested a rate increase of 60.4%. (Arizona Republic, 6/13/16)
  • Louisiana Blue Cross Blue Shield requested rate increases ranging from 20.5% to 28.3% on average for the various plans offered on the exchanges. Their plans cover about 70% of the people in the individual market in that state. It’s (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 6/6/16)

Employers are still offering health insurance to their employees: "Everyone thought [the Affordable Care Act] was the curtain call for small businesses...that they would just drop off coverage and send their folks to the exchanges. We haven't seen that happen. In fact, we've seen a bit of resurgence in small group in the last several months and are growing slightly in terms of overall membership." — Brian Cheney, divisional vice president of small business at Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blues plans in five states, told The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans*.*. (AIS Health Business Daily, 7/6/16, Click here to read the THE AIS REPORT ON BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD PLANS* article in which this quote appeared — "Death of the Small-Group Market Has Been Greatly Exaggerated, Blues Plans Say" Free for THE AIS REPORT subscribers; $17 for non-subscribers.) * Not affiliated with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association or its member companies. (AIS Health Business Daily, 7/6/16)

And they see opportunities to make improvements for their employees:

  • “Employers are doubling down on opportunities to impact health care quality and costs at the source — by working more closely with high-performing providers through select networks and providing better information to help employees make higher-value health care choices,” stated a report by the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) for the American Health Policy Institute (AHPI). (AIS Health Business Daily, 6/16/16)
  • 85% ... of employers that evaluated private health insurance exchanges opted to not move forward, with the main reason being unproven cost savings. About half were also concerned about employee disruption, according to employer surveys by Chicago-based Pacific Resources Benefits Advisers, LLC. (AIS Health Business Daily, 6/23/16, From INSIDE HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES "Private Exchanges Are Evolving, But Firms May Lack Motive to Adapt”)

How are these trends playing out in your market? Are these rate increases an opportunity for you? What about the employer interest in high-performing networks?

Tags: ACA. healthcare exchanges, ACA, HIX




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