Virginia Filings Offer Preview Of 2015 Premium Increases
Meanwhile, nearly a half billion dollars were spent on failed exchanges in Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland, according to Politico, while the chief of Hawaii's largest insurer calls on that state to shut down its troubled exchange.
The Wall Street Journal: Virginia Filings Give First Look At 2015 Health Rate Increases
In the first look at how insurers plan to adjust prices in the second year under the federal health-care law, filings from Virginia carriers show they are opting for premium increases in 2015 that will pinch consumers' pocketbooks but fall short of some bigger rate predictions. The new premium proposals, detailed in official filings to the state's insurance regulator, show health plans all opting for some increases (Radnofsky, 5/11).
Los Angeles Times: Insurance Agents Played Key Role In California’s Obamacare Enrollment
As enrollment neared under the Affordable Care Act, both President Obama and California officials boasted that signing up for health insurance would be as easy as ordering a book from Amazon.com ... Covered California's executive director, Peter Lee, predicted a bleak future for insurance agents selling individual policies, saying they could easily go the way of travel agents. As it turns out, reports of their demise were greatly exaggerated. Insurance agents played a major role in California's larger-than-expected enrollment of 1.4 million people in private health plans (Terhune, 5/10).
Politico: $474M For 4 Failed Obamacare Exchanges
Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher. Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. ... The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare.gov (Haberkorn and Cheney, 5/11).
Oracle Corp. troubleshooters were shocked and baffled by the problems Cover Oregon faced when it tried to go live on Oct. 1, and earlier red flags were dismissed by exchange staff because of a "true believer" mentality, said Tom Jovick, a recently retired top Cover Oregon administrator. "When you've worked that long on something that has that vision, it's really hard to give it up and say 'This is a piece of crap, we have to do something else,'" he said (Budnick, 5/9).
The Oregonian: Report Pegs Cover Oregon Health Exchange Cost-Per-Enrollee At $4,436, More Than Most States
A new report has tallied the first-year cost-effectiveness of various state health exchanges through the open enrollment period, assigning Oregon a rank of 5th most expensive among the 15 states that set up their own exchanges. Among all states, it is the 13th most expensive. Jay Angoff is a lawyer and former Obama administration official who at one point oversaw the Health and Human Services office charged with getting exchanges up and running. ...[he] concludes that the federal government should think twice before contributing more funding for state-based exchanges (Budnick, 5/9).
WBUR: The Rising Cost Of Massachusetts’ Failed Insurance Website
The cost to launch and maintain a website where Massachusetts residents can sign up for health insurance is estimated at $121 million through the end of next year. The actual price could be plus or minus 20 percent of that figure. Gov. Deval Patrick’s special assistant, Sarah Iselin, outlined the plans and expenses at a Health Connector board meeting Thursday. “That’s shockingly high,” said Erika Beahr, a consultant from Waltham who buys health insurance through the Connector. “The state has to have a working website, but it’s hard to understand why it should cost so much in this day and age” (Bebinger, 5/9).
The Associated Press: More Glitches In Washington Health Marketplace
New glitches in Washington's health insurance marketplace are causing problems for some new insurance customers. About a hundred people have called to say they paid their premiums but have been told by insurance companies or their doctors they don't have insurance. Richard Onizuka, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, said they are victims of system defects and data issues. The defects have been messing up invoices and payment systems (5/11).
The Associated Press: Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange
The chief executive of Hawaii's largest health insurance company is calling on Hawaii to shut down its beleaguered health insurance exchange, which was set up as part of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. Michael Gold, president and CEO of Hawaii Medical Services Association, says the state shouldn't keep spending money on the Hawaii Health Connector, a system that he says is financially unsustainable and does not work (Bussewitz, 5/9).
Kaiser Health News: D.C. Health Insurance Tax Triggers Insurer Pushback
Insurers who are not selling their wares on Washington, D.C.’s exchange have signaled they may sue to block a D.C. council plan to charge them a 1 percent annual tax on all health-related plans sold in the city. The revenue would pay for the continuing operation of the online marketplace (Gillespie, 5/12).
Health News Colorado: Exchange To Spend Millions On High-Paid Employees
Colorado’s health exchange managers are planning to spend millions in the next fiscal year on highly paid employees even as managers struggle with how to pay for the exchange after the spigot of federal cash shuts off. To fund the exchange, managers are charging a 1.4 percent user fee on customers and are considering charging a $13 million fee on all Coloradans who have health insurance — even those who don’t get it through the exchange. Starting in July, exchange managers are planning to spend about $7 million on salaries for 49 employees and their travel expenses, meetings and office space (McCrimmon, 5/9).