Insurance Exchanges Are Losing Low-Cost Plans

Insurers that are not participating in exchanges have an average of 23% lower premium rates than the rest of their competition, according to HealthPocket, which analyzed the health insurance markets of 10 states. This trend was true for nine of the 10 states examined, raising questions about the level of competition within exchanges and potentially higher cost of the health plans on exchanges in these states.

The report reviewed premium prices for a 35-year-old male in 1,621 health plans in Calif., Colo., Conn., Ga., Md., N.C., Ore., S.C., S.D. and Wash. The study was based on 2013 data versus the plans sold in 2014. If a consumer is eligible for a subsidy under the exchanges, the difference in premium costs may be mitigated or even overcompensated for depending on the size of the subsidy. Yet if the report findings hold true in 2014, consumers who don’t get a subsidy must look at health plans available on and off exchange to make sure they get the best pricing.

Some of the best-known health insurance brands are absent from one or more state exchanges. The carriers include:

• United Healthcare (Ranked #1 by NAIC for market share)
• Humana (Ranking #4)
• Aetna (Ranking #5)
• Cigna (Ranking #8)
• Coventry (Ranking #9) (now owned by Aetna)

Most of these carriers will continue to participate in state markets by offering off exchange products to those not seeking government subsidies.

Kev Coleman, head of Research at HealthPocket said, “The individual health insurance market will change dramatically in 2014. Our research shows that the exchanges will be losing some health plans that had been offering among the lowest premiums in their markets. Consumers will need to do some additional digging to make sure they evaluate all their insurance options because those highly competitive choices may only show up outside an exchange in some states. For more information, visitHealthPocket.com.

Last Updated 12/02/2020

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