UnitedHealth Group, Inc. says it’s pulling out of dozens of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public health insurance exchange markets.
Centene seems to still like the exchange system.
Anthem seems to be hoping for better days.
Aetna seems noncommittal.
What are health insurance market watchers thinking?
For a look at the views of a sampling of agents, brokers and other professional advisors from around the country, read on.
1. Ryan White: Davenport, Iowa
Ryan White, an employee benefits consultant with Acumen Advisors, is in a state with a PPACA exchange that seems likely to lose UnitedHealth but gain coverage from Wellmark, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield carrier.
White said he was unfazed by the UnitedHealth move. He views PPACA rules as an automatic impediment to insurers turning a profit.
“The long-term concern would be, can anybody make (the exchange market) work and keep it affordable,” White said.
White added that he and his colleagues are hopeful that the new exchange options from Wellmark will meet the needs of most consumers.
2. Joe Hickey: Mokena, Illinois
Joe Hickey, an agent at Southpoint Insurance, remains concerned about his ability to provide consumers with a sufficient selection of health insurance plans.
“The first thing that comes to mind is the lack of carriers that are making products available for the individual marketplace,” said Hickey, a 30-year health insurance veteran. “There is a very limited selection of providers for individual health insurance.”
Health insurance agents and brokers in rural Illinois are especially likely to miss being able to offer UnitedHealth products, he said.
“For a carrier to completely pull out of the market like that, it’s a concern,” he said. “It limits our opportunities to find good, valuable health insurance.”
Even if new carriers enter the exchange system in the Illinois, Hickey said, he is afraid health insurance marketplace volatility will get worse before it gets better. He said the fallout from PPACA implementation is damaging the ability of health insurance agents to attract fresh talent to their profession, especially given that a significant portion of carrier sales commissions has dried up.