Last week we reported that the state-based marketplace in Minnesota had one of its biggest carriers withdrawing from the market. However, other news from last week suggests that that is the exception, not the rule. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced last week that this coming year there will be a 25% increase in the number of insurers offering plans in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) and the State-based Marketplaces (SBM). HHS issued a report which provides the details of the increased participation. The key findings as outlined in the report are as follows:
- Based on preliminary data for 36 FFM states and eight additional SBM states, there will be a 25 percent increase in the number of health insurance issuers offering Marketplace coverage in 2015 compared to 2014.
- Four of the 36 states in the FFM will have at least double the number of issuers they had in 2014.
- At least 67 issuers in the FFM and 10 issuers in the SBMs will be new to the Marketplaces in 2015.
- Some of the nation’s largest insurers will be offering coverage for the first time in more than a dozen states, suggesting that the FFM and SBMs represent an increasingly attractive business opportunity.
- Ten issuers in the FFM and four issuers in the SBMs that offered QHPs in a given state in 2014 have not filed for participation in 2015; however, some of those issuers’ parent companies continue to be active in the respective states’ Marketplaces.
- Given that the number of new entrants is expected to be more than five times the number of exiting issuers among the 44 states included in this analysis, the Marketplaces will offer consumers significantly more choice in 2015 and appear to offer an increasingly attractive business opportunity for issuers.
[Source: ASPE Issue Brief: Health Insurance Issuer Participation and New Entrants in the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2015, September 23, 2014. To read the HHS statement, click here and to download a copy of the report, click here.]
What does all this mean for navigators and people with disabilities? Hopefully, the increase in the number of Qualified Health Plan (QHP) options will mean that there is more choice and a greater likelihood that a person with a disability will be able to find a QHP which will meet their individual needs.
Navigators will need to be more aware of the options offered under the different plans and what services are and are not covered by each QHP as what may work for one person’s unique healthcare needs may not work for another. Asking the right questions in order to understand each consumers needs is critical to assisting consumers with disabilities. To see some scenarios of consumers with disabilities and the types of questions that one should consider when assisting them, check out one of our archived webinar presentations, “Understanding the Health Coverage Needs of People with Disabilities.” This presentation uses the Jeopardy game show format to show it’s not about the answer, but asking the right question when it comes to Health Insurance Jeopardy.