A top federal health care regulator says he thinks typical consumers care more about low health insurance premiums than thick provider directories.
Andy Slavitt, the acting administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), talked about how he sees the health insurance market at a conference with health insurers, at an undisclosed location, earlier this month.
“Consumers are saying loudly and most clearly that affordability matters more to them than it does when they select a plan through an employer, and is the most important concern,” Slavitt said, according to a written version of his remarks posted on the CMS website.
“So if consumers want savings, what are they willing to compromise on?” Slavitt asked. “According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report, consumers would much prefer a narrower network to a higher deductible or higher premium.”
Consumers’ willingness to accept narrower networks could open the door to new types of provider contracting and network design strategies, Slavitt said.
Slavitt said insurers may also have to come up with new strategies for keeping to the enrollees attract.
Slavitt cited the Ambetters plans, from St. Louis-based Centene, as an example of a carrier with an interesting enrollee retention program.