Open Enrollment ends in two days. Here is the latest news and findings about the exchanges.
The U.S. government will limit a process that allowed people to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare outside of the normal enrollment period, after health insurers complained that the special sign-up windows were letting people into the program only when they got sick. (Bloomberg Business, 1/19/16)
According to the latest Gallup/Healthways survey, the rate of uninsured Americans has fallen from 18% in 2013 to 11.9% exiting 2015. It's the young and lower-income minorities who have seen the biggest benefit of healthcare reform, and that's presenting a unique set of challenges for insurance companies participating in the Obamacare exchanges. (The Motley Fool, 1/17/16)
"From an employer perspective, one of the interesting things about the Cadillac tax being delayed for a couple of years is we are now going to see a lot of companies moving to full replacement, high-deductible plans in 2017. [In the] plan design survey [conducted by the National Business Group on Health this year we had something like 27% of companies considering moving to a full replacement high-deductible plan for 2017, really in anticipation of the Cadillac tax going into effect. But with a two-year delay I think we are going to see that level off.... [Employers] will look at ACOs, performance networks and centers of excellence and try to understand how these delivery models can perform versus the market from a cost, an outcomes and a patient experience perspective. And I would say that ACOs in particular are not very well understood." — Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of NBGH, told AIS's Health Plan Week. (AIS Health Business Daily, 1/22/16 Click here to read the HEALTH PLAN WEEK article in which this quote appeared — "2016 Outlook: 'Turning Point' Year to Give More Answers On ACA Exchanges, Networks and Politics" Free for HPW subscribers; $17 for non-subscribers)
Thirty-five percent more people than last year have enrolled for their employer-sponsored healthcare benefits on private online marketplaces, according to a new report from global consulting and technology firm Accenture. "We're also beginning to see larger employers taking a wait-and-see approach," said Scott Brown, managing director at Accenture Health, explaining that these employers continue to look for ways to contain their costs. He believes that wait-and-see approach is responsible for the lower than anticipated growth in private exchange business. (Healthcare IT News, 1/20/16)
“United is a huge health insurer, and the exchanges remain a relatively small market, so there are very few insurers in which the exchange is going to be make or break for their whole book of business,” said Caroline Pearson, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based senior vice president and health reform practice leader at health care consultant Avalere Health. “I do not think we're seeing the beginning of the fall of the market,” Ms. Pearson said. “We are seeing a correction that may cause rates to go up to cover the costs.” (Business Insurance, 1/20/2016)
89% ... of the counties in the U.S. have Blue Cross and Blue Shield products sold on public exchanges, according to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. (AIS Health Business Daily, 1/25, Click here to read the INSIDE HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES E-ALERT in which this datapoint appeared. Free for HEX subscribers; $17 for non-subscribers).
Anthem Inc. said its individual exchange health plans weighed on fourth-quarter profit, causing it to miss analysts' expectations. Nearly 800,000 people enrolled in Anthem plans through the exchanges, about 30 percent below its expectations. Anthem said net profit fell to $180.9 million, or 68 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, from $506.7 million, or $1.80 per share, a year earlier. (Reuters, 1/27/16)