The new health insurance exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) could handle $200 billion in premium revenue per year by 2019.
Consultants at PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P., New York, have included that forecast in a look at how the exchange program might affect at insurers.
If PPACA takes effect as written and works as supporters hope, the act will create a system of state-supervised health insurance distribution exchanges that will help individuals and small groups buy health coverage using a new system of tax credit-based subsidies starting in 2014.
The District of Columbia, 49 states and 4 territories have accepted preliminary exchange planning grants, and more than half of the jurisdictions have taken additional steps toward setting up exchange programs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The only state that has taken no officials steps toward looking at the exchange program is Alaska.
A state can let several exchanges operate within its borders, set up one exchange, join a multi-state exchange consortium, or let the federal government provide exchange services for its residents.
To become a “qualified health plan” (QHP) eligible to participate in an exchange, a health plan must offer a minimum level of benefits and meet other federal standards.
The exchanges are supposed to start certifying the QHPs in October 2012, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers consultants, and those QHPs could split about $60 billion in revenue in 2014, the PricewaterhouseCoopers consultants say.