Originally, I was going to call this blog entry “Venezuela” and talk about how the killer practical problem with government intervention in markets is that it’s even easier for government agencies to pretend bad is good than it is for private companies.
Yes, a private company can try to hide inflation by reducing the weight of cereal you get in a box, or by reducing the actuarial value you get from a health insurance plan with complicated coinsurance changes that only the consulting actuary could love.
But Venezuela can lie about the value of the government programs it’s giving you — then shut down the newspapers and most of the Internet to keep you from discussing the changes.
EHealth actually runs big private health insurance “exchanges,” or sales websites, including eHealthInsurance.com. It’s trying to show people what’s going on with the list price for all of the private individual and family health plans it sells, including the “qualified health plans” (QHPs) sold outside the exchange system, and ordinary major medical plans sold off-exchange.
The index is not a full and complete answer.
What I personally really want is some kind of index that shows what’s going on with all non-exchange plans, not just the ones eHealthInsurance.com sells.
Many people complain about the chaotic state of the QHP activity data coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and many state-based exchanges. Well, sure. But where, pray tell, is the free, publicly accessible, real-time-ish paid enrollment (or plan selection) data for the ordinary commercial health insurance plans sold outside the public exchange system?
Maybe you readers out there in professional broker land get some kind of sales tracking service, but no one has pitched that service to me. I can’t prove that any health insurer in America got any consumer to select any individual non-exchange plan in January, let alone whether any of those consumers have paid their premiums.
But eHealth is providing a chart that shows what individuals and families are expecting to pay for coverage purchased through its system.