With approximately 110,000 Hoosiers enrolled in health plans via the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace for 2014, all eyes are turning toward 2015, when more than 60,000 additional enrollees are expected to choose from plans offered by as many as nine insurance companies in the state, with premium rates increasing by as much as 46 percent.
According to J.K. Wall in his IBJ.com healthcare coverage, all four companies offering insurance plans to Hoosiers via the exchange for 2014 are planning to return in 2015, with rates increasing overall by an average of 14 percent.
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, average increase of 9.7 percent.
- Fort Wayne-based Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana, average increase of 46 percent.
- Indianapolis-based MDwise Inc., average increase of 35 percent.
- Coordinated Care, a unit of St. Louis-based Centene Corp., average change is projected to be a decline of 8.8 percent.
In a nod to these early entrants, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing an automatic re-enrollment for Health Exchange plan participants unless they want to shop for and choose a different plan.
Insurance companies newly entering the Indiana Marketplace for 2015 include Indiana University Health Plans, SIHO Insurance Services, and CareSource, along with Minnesota-based UnitedHealthcare, the largest health insurer in the nation, selling under its All Savers brand name, and New York-based Assurant Inc.
The End of Employer-Sponsored Healthcare?
As the Marketplace continues to grow, recent studies show that employers are continuing to explore the possibility of moving their workers away from employer-sponsored healthcare and toward the exchange. Polls indicate workers expect, and fear, the same thing.
In his May 29, 2014, Healthcare Payer News article, “The end of group insurance?” Anthony Brino reports on a study of S&P 500 companies’ current insurance costs and benefits trends, conducted by Michael Thompson, managing director of global markets intelligence at S&P Capital IQ, and colleagues. Based on their findings, Thompson estimates that by 2020, as many as 90 percent of employers could could discontinue the insurance benefits they currently offer and move to either public or private exchanges.
In another survey of mid-sized and large companies commissioned by Prudential Financial,
more than 50 percent of companies surveyed reported that they were very or somewhat likely to move employees to private exchanges to purchase company-subsidized coverage. As well, almost a quarter of respondents plan to stop providing employer-paid healthcare coverage to some or all current employees and direct them instead to public health insurance exchanges. Government subsidies would be available for those plans for individuals with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty line.
Both these surveys confirm workers’ fears that their employers are planning to dump them into the exchanges. The Hill’s Ferdous Al-Faruque reports that a recent Morning Consultsurvey found that 63 percent of workers who responded are plagued by this fear. In that same survey, 51 percent of respondents believe such a move would affect their coverage negatively, prompting 52 percent to look for a new job if that were to happen. However, if 90 percent of employers have made the same change, a new job would likely not change anything.
New Copper Level Plan
Finally, insurance companies and lawmakers are proposing a less expensive and less comprehensive level of coverage to be added to the Exchanges. The so-called “copper” plans would pay only 50 percent of covered medical expenses and would have deductibles as high as $9,000. Under the current plans, the lowest level—bronze—currently pays 60 percent of covered expenses and caps at a $6,350 deductible. Critics believe the high level of consumer risk for those who might choose a copper plan runs counter to the “affordable” part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Supporters, however, believe this option would give healthier, younger Americans more choice for health coverage.
- “Indiana’s Obamacare rates for 2015 all over the map,” IBJ, May 19, 2014, by J.K. Wall (http://www.ibj.com/indianas-obamacare-rates-for-2015-all-over-the-map/PARAMS/article/47754)
- “HHS announces auto-enrollment plans for current Marketplace consumers for 2015,” HHS Press Release, June 26, 2014 (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/06/20140626a.html)
- “New Obamacare rule could boost WellPoint,” IBJ, July 7, 2014, by J.K. Wall (http://www.ibj.com/new-obamacare-rule-could-boost-wellpoint/PARAMS/article/48480)
- “Avalere Analysis: Average Exchange Premiums Rise Modestly in 2015 and Variation Increases,” Avalere Health, June 18, 2014, by Matthew Eyles (http://www.avalerehealth.net/expertise/managed-care/insights/avalere-analysis-average-exchange-premiums-rise-modestly-in-2015-and-variat)
- “The end of group insurance?” Healthcare Payer News, May, 29 2014, by Anthony Brino (http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20140707/BLOG/307079997)
- “2014 Managing Financial Risk in Retirement and Benefits Programs Translating Awareness into Action,” a report prepared by CFO Research in collaboration with Prudential Financial, Inc. (http://research.prudential.com/documents/rp/CFO-Prudential-ManagingFinancialRisk-2014.pdf?doc=CFO2014&bu=GC&ref=Newsroom&cid=1)
- “More than half of companies considering private exchanges, survey finds,” Modern Health, July 8, 2014, by Paul Demko (http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20140707/BLOG/307079997)
- “Workers worried about being dumped on O-Care plans, poll finds,” The Hill, July 7, 2014, by Ferdous Al-Faruque (http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/5-things-to-know-about-the-proposed-copper-plans.html)
- “Workers Worried Employers Will Move Them To Obamacare Exchanges,” Morning Consult, July 6, 2014, by Jonathan Easley (http://themorningconsult.com/2014/07/workers-worried-employers-will-move-obamacare-exchanges/)
- “Possibility of a ‘Copper’ Metal Tier for Exchanges Challenges ACA Coverage Goals,” AIS Health, March 10, 2014 (http://aishealth.com/archive/nhpw022414-01)
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