Last week we were “treated” to a taste of what health insurance rates will look like inside the marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. Today, I received an early report of a possible list of companies that plan on setting up shop inside the Marketplace.
NOTE: After reviewing the companies who have plans available in the Marketplace this is the most updated list.
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue shield
- Coordinated Health Mutual
- Medical Mutual of Ohio
- Kaiser Permanente
That's Great, But What Does it Mean?
That means these are the only companies you will be able to buy from if you chose to go through Ohio's upcoming Health Insurance Marketplace.
I'm going to be honest, that list looks a little smaller than I was expecting.
Who's Not There?
The biggest name absent from that list is United Health One. Behind Anthem and Medical Mutual of Ohio they were your next best option the last year or two.
Other companies like, Humana One, Celtic, Cigna and Assurant are also nowhere to be seen. I know the ACA's main goal was to make health insurance more “affordable” by creating more competition, but it looks like “the Marketplace” actually has less now...
Who's Coordinated Health Mutual?
That's the 64 million dollar question right now. The insurance crowd is at a lost, as it seems this company has essentially appeared over night.
There has also been some speculation that Coordinated Health Mutual might actually be one of the MIA companies listed above, most likely United or Assurant. It's hard to say what the reasoning behind setting up an entire new company to do business through the exchange is, but it's still a very realistic possibility.
A quick side note, could the people in charge of naming health insurance companies do a better job not making them sound completely fake and made up?
What Happens if My Insurance Company isn't on the List?
That's a really good question.
In reality, nothing.
Your company's participation, or lack thereof, in the marketplace should not have an effect on your current plan.
All this means is you will be unable to buy a plan from your current company if you decide to go through the Marketplace.
Will the Companies NOT on the List Still Sell Health Insurance Outside the Marketplace?
We haven't heard really one way or the other what any of these companies plans are for sure. What we do know is there will be companies selling health insurance both inside and outside the marketplace. It looks like we have a pretty good idea who's in, now we just need to wait and see who's set up shop outside the marketplace.
Why Would a Company Not Want To Sell In the Marketplace?
It's hard to say for sure, but if I took my best insurance agent guess, I would have to say it would revolve around their reluctance and/or lack of motivation for dealing with all the extra headaches and red tape associated with the Marketplace.
If you're buying health insurance through the marketplace, you are more than likely going to qualify for tax credits and subsidies from the federal government to help pay for that insurance. It's anyone's guess how smooth and seamless that administration process will be for the government to provide to the insurance companies.
I know the next time smooth and seamless appear in the same sentence as the federal government, it will be the first.
It's also possible, that given all the new added benefits (mandates) combined with the above challenges, the non participating companies found they would be unable to offer plans at a competitive price and stay in business.
The Bottom Line
Ohio's health insurance picture is starting to become a little clearer as more information trickles out. We still have a long way to go before we get the full understanding of what health insurance will look like in a post healthcare reform world. As we inch closer, your best defense is to stay up to date on the latest developments by working with someone who has their ear to the ground.
The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and hope it all works out.
What does this list do for your thoughts of buying health insurance through the marketplace?