The District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority says its 2014 rate chart has inspired two carriers to cut their small-group rates.
Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) has agreed to cut its 2014 small-group exchange rates about 5 percent, and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) has agreed to cut its initial small-group rates about 12 percent, authority officials said.
The authority, the manager of the district’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange known as DC Health Link, has attracted carriers for its individual exchange program and four for its Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange program.
Oppnents of PPACA are still fighting to block or delay implementation of the law. If the law takes effect on schedule and works as backers hope, it will require federal regulators to work with states and the District of Columbia to make exchanges, or health insurance supermarkets, available to consumers throughout the country.
The insurers that sell “qualified health plans” (QHPs) through the exchanges must help consumers compare the plans by covering standardized percentages of the actuarial value of a standardized benefits package.
The four metal levels range from about 60 percent of the value of the “essential health benefits” package for a bronze plan, 70 percent for a silver plan, 80 percent for a gold plan and 90 percent for a platinum plan.
CareFirst has announced plans to offer both preferred provider organization (PPO) QHPs and health maintenance organization (HMO) QHPs four all four metal levels in both the individual exchange program and the SHOP program.
Kaiser is offering HMO plans only at all metal levels in both the individual and the small group market.