It’s been clear for months now that most major carriers, not wanting to jeopardize market share, are willing to roll the dice on participation in the state and federal exchanges.
We commend those at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who have worked so diligently to have so many consumer choices available, and hope that the coming months are not a glitch-filled administrative nightmare.
Ultimately, the viability of the exchanges — and the costs of products on them — are going to be determined when the claims data comes in. It may be well and good that a healthy 27-year-old can get coverage for the cost of a cellphone bill, but will young and healthy 27-year-olds participate?
Or will the exchanges be populated with older, less healthy consumers or those with preexisting, expensive conditions?
Certainly the costs are going to be all over the map depending on demographics and age.
What we’ve seen in private exchanges so far is that participants tend to gravitate to the lowest-cost plans.
If those plans are very narrow in their access to doctors and hospitals, will there be a backlash — the same way there was a big public backlash against HMOs in the 1990s?