Short Takes On News & Events

How Are Insurers Responding To New Health Law Enrollees?

By KHN Editors

April 21st, 2014, 1:37 PM

KHN’s Jay Hancock was on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal Monday morning to talk about how insurers are responding to the health law. Hancock said the 8 million new customers have insurers pondering who they, how sick they are and how the new enrollees may affect insurance rates in 2015.

3 Responses to “How Are Insurers Responding To New Health Law Enrollees?”

  1. Tom says:

    If private insurers respond in the negative and raise their premiums, there will be a huge outcry from those enrolled in the Affordable Care Act health exchanges. Private insurers need to be very cautious about what they do going forward. Fact is, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay and, in order for private insurers to be welcomed to participate, they need to keep their premium pricing competitive. Otherwise, Congress will be forced to introduce a public option into the health exchanges. Private insurers dread the public option! They have always dreaded having to compete with a public option. With a public option, maybe something like Medicare for everybody, the private insurers will be forced out of the exchanges and, as a result, we will move gradually toward a single-payer healthcare system. If I were a private insurer that participates in the health exchanges, I’d be very careful during the next open enrollment period. Very careful!

  2. Thats a great point Tom. Although, I would contend that private insurers will continue to offer plans perhaps even via a public option. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private health insurance companies, and can be very inexpensive. It certainly will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years.

  3. Paula says:

    Great point Tyler. Although, where in the world did you get the idea that Medicare Advantage plans are public plans. With Medicare Advantage, the consumer gives up a perfectly good public option (traditional Medicare) and opts for a completely private and very expensive plan. The only connection is that Medicare pays an over-inflated subsidy for these plans when compared to the cost of traditional Medicare and then the private insurer offering these expensive plans charges another several hundred dollar premium billed directly to each subscriber. What more does the consumer get? Not much! Maybe a gym membership. With most Medicare Advantage plans, the consumer still has expensive copays and expensive coinsurance to pay. Also, most Medicare Advantage participants must contribute toward the purchase of their prescription drugs. So, getting back to my first point, where could you possibly get the idea that Medicare Advantage plans are a public option? In my opinion, Medicare Advantage plans are not only completely private, they are a rip-off!