Insurers Adding Products On Obamacare Exchanges May Curb Prices

Apr 26 2014, 9:16am CDT | by

News that more than 8 million Americans signed up for private health benefits under the Affordable Care Act is drawing health insurance companies to more markets in 2015 and could mean better prices and choices for consumers, analysts say.

Already, the nation’s largest health insurance company, UnitedHealth Group (UNH), last week said it is looking to expand next year. Meanwhile, other health plans including Aetna (AET), Humana (HUM), Wellpoint (WLP) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans are evaluating their markets and rates for 2015.

“We had a very modest footprint in 2014 and as we’ve said and still believe, we do have a bias to increase that participation in 2015,” Gail Boudreaux, executive vice president and CEO of UnitedHealth’s United Healthcare subsidiary.

Though UnitedHealth isn’t saying where it will expand, health benefits analysts say increased insurance company participation on the exchanges is good news for consumer choices and health plan pricing.

“null rincipal in the health and life sciences practice of consulting firm Oliver Wyman. “ Oliver Wyman has benchmarked the competitiveness of on-exchange premiums by comparing actual premiums in each state with an expected premium based on actuarial projections. In many states, the lowest cost plans are well below what we would expect.”

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini earlier this week told Wall Street analysts and investors on the company’s first-quarter earnings call that the company is evaluating rates for 2015 for the 17 states where it offers products on public exchanges. Markets with higher numbers of health plan members tend to have lower rates but anything still has to be approved by state or federal regulators.

“I would say the range of our rates are very low single digits to some that will be over double digits, and in large part that depends on number one, the amount of membership we have in the market; number two, the demographics of that membership, but probably even more importantly the lack of clarity about what kind of experience we have,” Bertolini told analysts earlier this week.

But benefits analysts say selling benefits on an exchange is beginning to increase competition and reduce costs.

“The overall goal of a health exchange is to create a competitive marketplace that offers consumers a variety of high quality health plans to meet their individual needs,” said Cary Grace, CEO of Aon Exchange Solutions, a private exchange offered to employers by benefits consulting firm Aon Hewitt (AON). “Adding new carriers that understand the local competitive environment and the buying preferences of the consumers in that local market will help to increase this outcome.”

Wondering how Obamacare will affect your health care? The Forbes eBook Inside Obamacare: The Fix For America’s Ailing Health Care System answers that question and more. Available now  at Amazon and Apple. 
/>

10 Essential Health Plan Benefits, 2013

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Bhopal fugitive Warren Anderson is dead (Roundup, Changing dateline)
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Warren Anderson, the former CEO of Union Carbide Corp, has died at 92 after living for 30 years under the shadow of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that killed thousands.
 
 
Sit-ins delayed building powerhouses: Nawaz Sharif
Islamabad, Oct 31 (IANS) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday blamed sit-ins for delaying the construction of powerhouses in the country, as cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan continued protesting with supporters in the capital city for over two months.
 
 
Britain to repay part of First World War debt
London, Oct 31 (IANS) British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Friday announced that the British government will pay off part of the country's First World War debt as part of the redemption of bonds stretching as far back as the 18th century.
 
 
UN-Habitat presents the first World Cities Day
Shanghai, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), headed by former Barcelona mayor Joan Clos, Friday launched its first World Cities Day in China, to be held every Oct 31 to promote sustainable development.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Arnold Schwarzenegger 'knew' he'd star in another Terminator movie
Arnold Schwarzenegger ''always knew'' he'd star in another 'Terminator' movie. The 67-year-old actor - the former governor of California - insists he wasn't surprised when he got a call from producers to appear in the...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Anne Hathaway would 'love' a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada
Anne Hathaway would ''love'' to appear in a sequel to 'The Devil Wears Prada'. The Oscar-winning actress starred in the popular 2006 comedy-drama, which also featured Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt, and has revealed she...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Lily Aldridge wearing mother's Playboy costume for Halloween
Lily Aldridge will wear her mother's old Playboy costume for Halloween. The 28-year-old model - who is married to Kings of Leon singer Caleb Followill - found her mum Laura Lyons' raunchy Playboy Bunny flight attendant...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Rochelle Humes' daughter loves Marvin doll
Rochelle Humes is embarrassed by her daughter's obsession with a doll of her husband, Marvin Humes. The 25-year-old singer has admitted she found it ''cringey'' when she was recently photographed holding a doll of her...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Keira Knightley annoyed Chloe Moretz didn't ask her advice
Keira Knightley was annoyed Chloe Grace Moretz didn't want her advice. The 29-year-old actress - who appears alongside the 17-year-old star in her latest movie 'Say When' - was disappointed that the young actress didn'...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Daniel Radcliffe loses everything
Daniel Radcliffe loses everything. The 'Horns' star admits he constantly has to replace his mobile phone and often puts things away and can't ever find them again. The 25-year-old actor said: ''I lose things a lot. At...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Apple Outsmarts Samsung in Terms of Revenue Generation
Samsung can sell more products, but it doesn’t mean that it will earn more profit, as Apple overtakes the Korean giant with respect to the earnings.According to the Cult of Mac, Samsung earned a profit of $3.8 billion...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Apple Declares Not to Remove PCalc iOS Calculator Widget
The PCalc iOs calculator widget is free from the risk of being removed, as Apple decides not to drop it from the App Store.According to Tech Crunch, the officials of Apple have confirmed about the move, stating that it...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Seth Rogen to Act as Steve Wozniak in the Steve Jobs’ Movie
Seth Rogen has got an important role in the biopic of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, as he has been selected to play as Steve Wozniak.According to the Variety, Rogen will be advised directly by Steve Wozniak, the...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Ponzy schemer cheats residents of $22 mn, gets 15-year jail
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) If you have been one of those approached by some 'known' person for investing in something with an assurance of 'easy money', you may benefit reading about this Ponzi schemer jailed in the US...
Read more on Politics Balla