The Affordable Care Act public exchange system is heading toward its fourth annual open enrollment period with a future that’s about as uncertain as it was in 2014.
Open enrollment for coverage that starts Jan. 1 is set to begin Nov. 1.
Now, everyone knows that the ACA exchange system can get more than 10 million people covered, and that some of those people like buying health coverage on their own, through the Web.
What Your Peers Are Reading
Exchange managers have also learned that many people like the exchange plans but want to buy their coverage through a live-human agent or broker.
Insurers, meanwhile, have learned that purchasers of individual ACA exchange plans tend to be sicker than they had hoped, and that it’s not entirely clear how easy it is to make money by selling exchange plans.
Managers of the surviving state-based exchange programs are trying to overcome the headlines about insurer market withdrawals and spread the word that their websites will be good places to shop for coverage for the coming year.
For a look at what five of those exchanges have been doing lately, read on:
Covered California, the state’s Sacramento-based exchange, says average rates for Small Business Health Options Program division coverage will rise just 5.9 percent in 2017.
Between 2015 and 2016, SHOP coverage rates rose an average of 7.2 percent.
All six of the carriers that participated in the California SHOP market this year will return next year, and a Blue Shield of California preferred provider organization plan will be available throughout the state, the exchange says.
California employers now using SHOP plans to cover about 28,000 people.
The employer retention rate is about 90 percent, the exchange says.
The exchange says it can enroll a small group in coverage within about three days after the group files its coverage application.
Betsy Z. Russell reported today in the Spokesman-Review that Your Health Idaho, the state’s exchange, has at least four health insurers to offer plans through the exchange in each of the state’s 44 counties.