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

Self-regulation skills prepare children for school
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Efforts to utilise music and games to help pre-schoolers learn self-regulation skills could help prepare at-risk children for kindergarten education, a new study says.
 
 
Anti-HIV drugs can affect unborn babies' hearts
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) The drugs given to HIV-positive pregnant women can cause significant long-term heart problems for the non-HIV-infected babies they carry, says a new study.
 
 
Sound training helps brain keep distractions at bay
New York, Nov 23 (IANS) The ability to sustain focus on a goal goes down with age but researchers, including of an Indian-origin, have discovered that with the help of a sound training, even the elderly can learn to ignore distractions.
 
 
New radiation device to strengthen public security
New York, Nov 23 (IANS) A new compact radiation device that can be operated in room temperature can significantly improve public security by detecting explosives, chemical agents and dangerous biological substances from safe distances, says a study.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Self-regulation skills prepare children for school
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Efforts to utilise music and games to help pre-schoolers learn self-regulation skills could help prepare at-risk children for kindergarten education, a new study says. The intervention was...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Anti-HIV drugs can affect unborn babies' hearts
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) The drugs given to HIV-positive pregnant women can cause significant long-term heart problems for the non-HIV-infected babies they carry, says a new study. Such medicines help prevent the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Sound training helps brain keep distractions at bay
New York, Nov 23 (IANS) The ability to sustain focus on a goal goes down with age but researchers, including of an Indian-origin, have discovered that with the help of a sound training, even the elderly can learn to...
Read more on Business Balla
 
New radiation device to strengthen public security
New York, Nov 23 (IANS) A new compact radiation device that can be operated in room temperature can significantly improve public security by detecting explosives, chemical agents and dangerous biological substances...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Trinidad takes India's support to improve water, sewerage system
Port-of-Spain, Nov 23 (IANS) India's High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, Gauri Shankar Gupta announced that a team of technical officials from the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) will visit India next month...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Office Depot ready for Black Friday
Office Depot is looking to cash in on laptops and tablets for the upcoming 2014 version of the Black Friday selling holiday. Office Depot plans on offering huge deals on several name brand computers. The company says...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Amazon set for Black Friday
Black Friday does not officially kick off until November 28th but one company who is taking a different approach to the holiday selling bonaza is Amazon. The company announced this week that their Black Friday specials...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
39 injured as earthquake hits Japan
Tokyo, Nov 23 (IANS) At least 39 people were injured after a 6.7-magnitude quake on the Richter scale hit Japan, media reported Sunday. The quake hit Nagano City and Hakuba village in Japan, where at least 10 homes...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Three killed in mine explosion in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Nov 23 (IANS) At least three workers were killed and 24 others, six of them serious, injured in an explosion in a coal mine in Malaysia, media reported Sunday. The explosion took place in a coal mine in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UN slams terrorist attack in Kenya
United Nations, Nov 23 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the terrorist attack on a bus in northern Kenya that left at least 28 people dead. "The secretary-general condemned the attack Saturday on a...
Read more on Politics Balla