Administration Says Online Insurance Marketplaces Will Have Robust Competition
The New York Times: Health Law Is Fostering Competition, U.S. Says
The new health care law is injecting more competition into health insurance markets nationwide, drawing additional insurance companies into states long dominated by a few carriers, Obama administration officials said Thursday. Such competition offers the prospect of more choices for millions of consumers who will be shopping for insurance this fall. Companies entering the market could also put downward pressure on prices, partly offsetting factors that tend to increase premiums (Pear, 5/30).
Politico: White House Sees Consumer Choices In Insurance Exchanges
About 90 percent of people who enter the health reform law's exchanges next year will have at least five different insurance company options to choose from, according to new data released by the Obama administration on Thursday. That degree of consumer choice is going to be a key selling point that the White House and its allies plan to use in a six-month campaign to encourage Americans to enroll this fall in Obamacare’s exchanges, or online portals to buy insurance (Haberkorn, 5/30).
NPR: Administration Touts Competition In Insurance Exchanges
At a White House briefing Thursday for health reporters, in which senior administration health officials spoke on the condition that they not be named, and in a memo, the administration insisted that in most states at least, competition will be far greater than it is today ... The officials also provided the first preview of something that has gotten relatively little notice so far: Multistate plans that are overseen by the Office of Personnel Management. That task was given to OPM because it oversees the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, which covers more than 8 million federal workers, including many plans that offer coverage nationwide (Rovner, 5/30).
The Wall Street Journal: New Health-Exchange Choices To Vary By State
The federal government is taking on all of the tasks of running exchanges for 19 states that have declined to do so themselves, ... The officials declined to give the number of states that would have fewer than five insurer options. They didn't discuss the likely pricing of the plans in depth (Radnofsky and Mathews, 5/30).
The Washington Post: Are Obamacare's Exchanges Competitive? Here’s What The Experts Say
Health policy experts were more cautious, though, in characterizing insurers’ enthusiasm to sell on these new marketplaces, and what that would mean for the price of health insurance. “I would characterize it as modest plan competition,” Caroline Pearson, vice president for health reform at Avalere Helath, said (Kliff, 5/30).
Huffington Post: Obamacare Health Insurance Choices Touted By Administration
More than 120 health insurance companies have applied to sell coverage through federally run marketplaces under President Barack Obama's health care reform law next year, according to a memorandum released by the administration on Thursday. The federal government is wholly or partially operating so-called health insurance exchanges in 34 states, while 17 states will manage their own. People who don't get health benefits at work or who are employed by small companies can begin shopping on Oct. 1 for coverage that will take effect next year (Young, 5/30).
The GAO also looked at how the exchanges are developing.
The Hill: States Say ObamaCare Exchanges Will Be Ready On Time
State setting up their own insurance exchanges say they'll meet their Oct. 1 deadline, but are concerned they'll have to make big changes later, the Government Accountability Office said Thursday. GAO surveyed officials in six states and Washington, D.C. about their progress setting up exchanges — the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act (Baker, 5/30).
Still, some insurers are a bit reluctant to move into the new marketplaces.
Bloomberg: UnitedHealth Spurns Obama Exchanges As Rules Stall Profit
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) will offer coverage in just a dozen of the U.S. health-care law's new insurance exchanges, in the latest sign big insurers see little gain from quickly plunging into the new markets. The country's largest health insurer is taking a conservative approach to the online markets set to open in states Oct. 1, Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hemsley told investors ... The company’s plans reflect its concern that the first wave of newly insured customers under the law may be the costliest, Hemsley said (Nussbaum, 5/31).
And another concern about the exchanges -
Modern Healthcare: Could Young Adults On Parents' Policies Impact Exchanges?
Obama administration officials have touted a provision of the healthcare reform law that allows young adults to remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26. But that benefit could end up driving up premiums in the state health insurance exchanges since many of these young and healthy individuals will not need to get coverage through those marketplaces. ... potentially skewing the exchange risk pools toward older and sicker people (Block, 5/30).