Massachusetts may have hurt efforts to sell small group health coverage through its exchange system by infuriating health insurance agents and brokers, researchers say.
A team of Georgetown University researchers led by Sabrina Corlette have published evidence supporting that conclusion in a review of lessons learned from the experience of the Utah and Massachusetts health insurance exchanges.
The Corlette team prepared the review, and the review was published on the website of the Massachusetts Health Connector, the agency that helps run the Massachusetts exchange programs.
If the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) take effect as written, it will create a system of health insurance exchanges that will distribute individual and small group health insurance starting in 2014.
States can choose to run their own exchanges, participate in multi-state exchange programs, or let the federal government provide exchange services for their residents.
The exchanges could take many different forms, but they are supposed to help users buy health coverage through a simple “one stop shopping” process, exchange advocates say.
Utah and Massachusetts already have exchange programs.
Utah has a reputation for being open to any willing carrier, and Massachusetts has a reputation for actively bargaining with carriers, but, in reality, Utah has had trouble getting all major carriers to participate, and Massachusetts has not yet turned away a carrier that has formally applied to participate, the Corlette team researchers say.
The researchers note that the Massachusetts program has a large, $30 million budget, and that the Utah program has a much smaller budget.