Will the healthy young consumers who still lack health coverage be willing to pay the higher prices public exchange plan issuers want to charge enrollees next year?
Stephen Zaharuk, a senior vice president at Moody’s Investors Service, raises that question in a commentary in a Moody’s review of the U.S. health care system. Zaharuk and other Moody’s analysts are still trying to figure out how the big new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) changes are affecting the debt issuers they rate.
Zaharuk, who rates commercial health insurers, says information about the performance of insurers’ public exchange qualified health plans (QHPs) is still emerging.
At this point, he says, “the enrolled population appears to be less healthy, with higher utilization of medical services. As a result, insurers have filed rate increases for a majority of their policies to be sold on the exchanges for 2015.”
The higher prices could hurt QHP issuers’ efforts to attract healthier consumers, Zaharuk says.
Zaharuk says any problems with individual QHP program performance should have a modest effect on the big issuers he rates, because none of the issuers has more than 6.3 percent of its total medical membership in individual exchange QHPs.
Moody’s hospital analysts are also having trouble getting detailed PPACA impact numbers.