Friday, March 29, 2013

Obamacare Exchanges Hide and Seek

Carriers are being coy about their decision to play the Obamacare HIX Wheel of Fortune. Some have hinted they may not participate in any exchanges, while others say they will pick their battle ground.

Regardless, consumers will have FEWER choices than before Obamacare and prices will definitely be higher.

Knowledge@Wharton: You have earlier said that there are a lot of bumps in the road ahead of the Affordable Care Act. You have also indicated that the price of insurance isn't likely to be going down anytime soon. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Broussard: First, I want to say that we are very positive [about] the fact that health care reform is going to expand coverage.... But it is going to raise the cost of care. 

The indirect result is Obamacare will raise the cost of health insurance. The cost of health care will increase in many areas due to new Obamataxes on medical devices, prescription drugs and services.

Knowledge@Wharton: In terms of the health insurance exchanges, the latest reports out of Humana are that you hope to be part of them in 10 states?
Broussard: That's right.
Knowledge@Wharton: Can you name the 10 states?
Broussard: We're not revealing the 10 states. These are states where we have a significant presence today and states where we feel that we can offer the best plan for members that participate in the exchange. It's really the bigger states that we're focusing on.
Knowledge@Wharton: I'm guessing that some of these states will be state-established exchanges, and some federal-established. Do you have any sense of which will be better for you in terms of a business model?
Broussard: I don't know if one is better than the other from a financial point of view or, for that matter, ease of use. But we do think that a federal-funded exchange is easier for us because we have to deal with the rules of one exchange as opposed to dealing with the multiple rules of each state.

Interesting that Humana (and possibly other carriers as well) see federally managed exchanges as the lesser of two evils. 

Regardless, fewer states means fewer choices.

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