Health insurers set to increase presence on Obamacare exchanges

|By:, SA News Editor

Some health insurers intend to join more state Obamacare exchanges next year, a development that could lead to more moderate price increases, or even prices falls, as competition increases.

In Washington state, for example, four insurers plan to sell coverage for the first time in 2015, while in Indiana, the number of providers could double to eight.

Of the insurers, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is set to offer new plans in the states mentioned, adding to five exchanges that it already operates on.

The providers could be hoping to benefit from "second-mover" advantage whereby they will look to sign up the increased number of younger and healthier people who are forecast to purchase coverage next year as the penalty for not doing so increases. Those who are in worse health and bought coverage last year are expected to remain with their existing plans.

Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress (CAP) think tank, which is close to the White House, has called for President Obama to appoint a CEO with private-sector experience to oversee Obamacare's federal and state online health insurance exchanges. The idea is that the exchanges would run as e-commerce sites. The CEO would also oversee insurers and market regulations, although not Medicare or Medicaid. (CAP report)

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