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Open Enrollment 2017 Opens This Week Amid Rate Hikes and Fewer Plan Options

Posted by Susan Donegan on Mon, Oct 31, 2016

Federal regulators opened the federal exchange Healthcare.gov for consumers to browse for plans on Monday, as they announced that rates will be up 25% for the plans for which the tax subsidies are calculated. HHS also warned that more than one in five consumers using the site will only have one insurer from which to choose coverage. The second lowest cost silver plan on the exchanges is the benchmark plan that regulators base tax credits on. That's the rate that is up 25%, which is also the expected overall increase in 2017. (USA Today, 10/24/16)

Health insurance companies are still struggling with improving price transparency in order to gain greater trust from their consumer base. One survey has shown low customer service satisfaction and a need for payers to inform consumers about their financial responsibility. Commercial health payers may lose contracts with employers by lacking price transparency. Adam Russo, CEO of Phia Group, explained that the lack of price transparency led him to self-insure his employees. (HealthPayer Intelligence, 10/24/16)

The White House predicts 13.8 million people will enroll in a health plan on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges by Jan. 31, the end of the open enrollment for 2017 coverage. That marks a 9 percent increase beyond the 12.7 million plan selections by the end of open enrollment in 2016. (The Business Journals, 10/20/16)

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in dozens of fledgling health insurance companies. More than $1.3 billion was invested in these companies in the United States in 2015 alone, according to CB Insights. With all the funds and fanfare surrounding health insurance startups, how do they plan to change the insurance industry? (Healthcare Dive, 10/19/16)

When the health insurance marketplace opens, many consumers will have a new option for fourth open-enrollment period: standardized health plans that cover basic services without a deductible. With many health plans on the marketplace including deductibles in the thousands of dollars, consumers have complained that they were getting little benefit beyond coverage for catastrophic problems. (The New York Times, 10/17/16)

"Clearly, there are many individuals who are not getting federal premium subsidies who could face significant increases in their costs next year. These increases are likely to be bigger than those that occurred in 2015 and 2016. However, prior to the ACA, annual premium increases were around 10% per year. So, the 2017 rate hikes will be more in line with historical trends," says Caroline Pearson, senior VP at Avalere Health LLC. (AIS's Inside Health Insurance Exchanges.. From INSIDE HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES"Subsidies Insulate Many From Rate Hikes; Millions Aren't Eligible", 9/29/16)

Tags: Healthcare, ACA, healthcare exchanges, HIX

 

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